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Typhoon Hato

Macau pair arrested for spreading false typhoon death rumours

Brother and sister spread messages online claiming that five people had been killed in a car park in the casino hub, and that authorities were covering up the deaths

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 8:03am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 10:05am

Macau police have arrested a brother and sister for spreading false information online claiming that bodies were found in a car park flooded during a recent storm, and authorities had tried to cover up the deaths.

The 73-year-old businessman and his jobless sister, 68, were arrested in a flat in Areia Preta on Monday after they allegedly disseminated false information through a mobile messaging application. The messages claimed that five bodies, including a family of four killed inside a car, were recovered in a flooded car park in Fai Chi Kei, according to a spokeswoman for Macau Judiciary Police.

Macau clean-up operation after deadly storm will still take days

The pair were also said to have claimed that the authorities were covering up the news and barring the media from accessing it, according to the spokeswoman.

The pair also urged recipients to spread their claims.

The woman told police she had received the message from an online chat room on Saturday and spread it the next day. Police were tracing the source of the rumour and urged the public not to distribute the message further.

Fai Chi Kei was one of the worst hit areas when Typhoon Hato swept through the gaming hub on Wednesday. Ten people were killed including four who drowned in underground car parks.

The body of a man was recovered in one of the car parks in Fai Chi Kei on Friday morning.

Antonio Ng Kuok-cheong, a pro-democracy legislator in Macau, said the authorities had come down harder on false messages relating to public affairs over the past year, and had earned approval from the community.

He said the news of the arrests did not create a stir with the public, while some were more interested in the ages of the two suspects.