Indonesian police on Friday arrested a man who claimed protesters in Jakarta had been shot by “police from China” when riots erupted earlier in the week, killing seven and injuring more than 200 people. The man, a trader from Bekasi in West Java, known as SDA, “deliberately spread information to create hatred against individuals, groups, based on their ethnicity, race and religion … resulting in chaos in society,” Indonesian police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told a press conference. “He spread hoax via news and photos with the narrative that the police force involved police from a [foreign] country to handle demonstrations [in Indonesia],” said Prasetyo. Indonesia’s election riots under control – and one man is taking credit The riots were triggered by demonstrations on Tuesday by supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who rejected the results of April 17 elections, which saw incumbent President Joko Widodo winning the race. The protesters had rallied outside the Elections Supervisory Agency building in central Jakarta and five other locations in the capital on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, they continued clashing with police, with the force using rubber bullets and tear gas on them. The crowds only began dispersing in the early hours of Thursday and some measure of calm returned to the capital. Shortly after the riots began on Tuesday, messages started circulating on social media that rioters killed in the melee were shot by “police from China”. One of the messages circulated on WhatsApp said: “Information from the location outside the Election Supervisory Agency. Our brother Eri has fallen …. B****** police from China who involved themselves in our country. Who let them into Indonesia?” The message was followed by photos of fair-skinned masked police officers that came with the caption: “China has sent security forces to Indonesia disguised as foreign workers.” In another photo, a man was pictured in a selfie that showed a fair-skinned officer from Indonesia’s mobile brigade police (Brimob) in the background. It accompanied the caption: “My friend, this Brimob cannot speak Indonesian.” Chinese Indonesians fear attacks as anti-China hoaxes spread online Rickynaldo Chairul from the police cybercrime unit said SDA shared the selfie and caption in three to four WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms. “It later went viral,” he said. The anti-Chinese images and messages spread rapidly , prompting the government on Wednesday to temporarily block or slow the sharing of photos and videos onto Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, to halt the spread of false information that could “inflame emotions.” But the hoax sparked fears among Indonesia’s tiny ethnic Chinese population – who make up about 3 million out of 260 million people. They said they feared being the target of mob violence similar to 1998, when protests that led to the downfall of dictator Suharto targeted members of the community, and their shops and homes. On Wednesday, a protester named Abdul Gani, 33, who travelled to Jakarta from Makassar, South Sulawesi, told the South China Morning Post he believed the message that people were shot dead by “police from China.” “I do believe that our brothers who fell were shot by Chinese police. We are defending our nation, to prevent it from falling into chaos, poverty and being exploited by foreign power.” To make their point that the Brimob police officers, who appeared in the photos were true-blue Indonesians, authorities presented them to the media, where they removed their masks and introduced themselves. Indonesian-Chinese in Taiwan recall how lives changed after 1998 riots Their names were not revealed, but one by one, they stated they were serving at the North Sumatra police headquarters and had been dispatched to Jakarta to secure the city. “We wish to stress that we are genuine Brimob, not police from China. I am Brimob North Sumatra and I come from North Sumatra,” said one officer. The second officer said he was also from the same province, while the third, who was also unnamed, said: “I am from Brimob Indonesia … the news that has been spread is purely a hoax. “We are pure Indonesians with Indonesian blood,” said the third officer.