A 46-year-old unemployed man was arrested on Thursday for spreading false information about Covid-19 on a social media app.
A spokesman for the Judiciary Police (PJ) said the suspect, surnamed Tang, posted a photo on the internet after it was confirmed that a local four-member family cluster had been infected by the Delta variant.
According to the spokesman, the government launched anti-epidemic prevention measures on Tuesday afternoon immediately after the announcement of the four Delta variant cases and urged the public not to create and spread false information.
Police discovered that on Wednesday a netizen had posted a photo and short text via a social media app about five people – Public Security Police officers and outsourced cleaners from the Municipal Affairs Bureau in protective clothing – claiming that they had been infected with the novel coronavirus.
Police confirmed that the content of the message was false and consequently could mislead the public into believing that there were newly confirmed cases in Macao apart from the family cluster.
According to the police, the message caused public fear and anxiety, which affected Macao’s public security and the government’s Covid-19 prevention measures.
PJ officers identified Tang as the suspect and told him to report to a police station on Thursday to assist in their investigation.
Under questioning, Tang told the police that he deliberately made use of his social media account to send the photo and false message to draw the public’s attention.
The statement said that Tang’s message breached Article 26 of the Civil Protection Framework Law No. 11/2020, causing public panic during the period of the government’s Covid-19 “state of immediate prevention” measures.
The Judiciary Police will transfer the case to the Public Prosecutions Office for follow-up investigation, reported The Macau Post Daily.
The Judiciary Police have urged the public not to fabricate or circulate false information with the intention of creating panic or unease, during a public emergency in particular, adding that suspected offenders face prosecution, adding that residents should focus their attention on official information and not believe hearsay.