- Some key opinion leaders have helped spread rumours in a bid to boost the protest movement, with a murder that never was and a sexual assault that never happened the latest two examples
Most people like to think there are such things as truths, evidence and facts. But some key opinion leaders (KOLs) who have large online followings and are allied with the opposition, have helped spread fake news and rumours by casting doubts on official or police reports.
Most have to do with outlandish allegations of rape and murder committed by police against protesters.
KOLs such as Stephen Shiu Yeuk-yuen, Li Wei-ling and Ng Chi-sum are all seasoned media professionals. Unlike younger and less educated radicals, they are not so foolish as to claim directly that police have killed and raped. Instead, they pick out partial leads and titbits, enough to raise doubts in people's minds and misdirect them.
The latest? An alleged murder that never was; and a supposed sexual assault that never happened. The naked body of a 15-year-old girl was found off Tseung Kwan O shores. Protesters quickly concluded, as they do with practically every body found that was not immediately identified, that she was the victim of a police murder.
Mother says Hong Kong girl, 15, found dead in sea 'took her own life'
The girl committed suicide after she took off her clothes. But our KOLs went into overdrive, finding holes in every statement police made. Now, though, the girl's mother has said unequivocally on TVB News that her daughter suffered from a mental illness and killed herself.
The mother spoke out because her family had been mercilessly harassed and their personal details exposed online. She asked protesters to leave them alone.
Last week, in a dramatic gesture, a Chinese University student activist took off her mask at a university forum and declared herself a victim of sexual assault by police. It was #MeToo and Hong Kong revolution rolled into one. Our KOLs and protesters rejoiced " finally a real rape victim of police!
Sadly for them, her story was quickly discredited. The extent of her "sexual assault", it turned out, was being watched by two female officers while using the toilet and allegedly hit in the breasts by a male officer who helped another policewoman to put her in plastic handcuffs.
Using online media, our opposition has switched to using fake news to boost a violent protest movement that is rapidly losing steam and public sympathy.
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