The sister of an arrested protester has rebutted rumours that her brother died at a hospital intensive care unit, after a picture of him covered in blood was widely shared online.

Violent clashes between police and protesters angered over the government’s clearing of street hawkers broke out on Monday night. As of Wednesday, 63 have been arrested.

Based on the photo from local newspapers Apple Daily and Ming Pao and a video from website Passion Times, it was widely rumoured online that a female protester had been hospitalised after allegedly being beaten by police and losing consciousness. Further rumours suggested the female protester died in hospital.

The photo of a protester in blood that caused the rumours.
The photo of a protester in blood that caused the rumours.

The protester is in fact a male. His elder sister, whose name on social media is Din Meimei Chan, told HKFP that the rumours were baseless.

“I saw him between 10am and 12pm on Tuesday at the emergency room of Kwong Wah Hospital,” Chan said. “He was in stable condition, he was standing on his feet, he can talk and move normally.”

【旺角警民衝突】有市民被警員打到頭破血流在旺角朗豪坊,警方向市民使用胡椒噴霧,並出警棍狂毆市民之後,及後警民再次爆發衝突,警方再次出警棍及胡椒噴霧,期間有警員在亞皆老街向天開槍,更用槍指嚇市民。在彌敦道,有警員從後追打一名女子,導致她頭破血流。(2:45 AM) (2月10日更新:事後證實該示威者為男性)

Posted by PassionTimes 熱血時報 on Monday, 8 February 2016

Stop the rumours

Chan said she found out her brother was arrested when she saw the photo online. She was not notified by anybody including the police, hence she went to a police station to ask for more information. On Wednesday afternoon, she was unable to ascertain whether her brother was still in hospital or at a police station.

“I could meet him but the police did not allow me to talk to him – they did not allow him to talk to me either,” she said.

mong kok fehd riot protest
File photo: Joel Christian.

She added that he was still detained and a lawyer was following up on the case. But she did not have any information as to who the lawyer was and how the lawyer was assigned to him.

“The police did not allow me to ask for the lawyer’s information, and I still couldn’t contact the police to provide information,” Chan said. “I hope people don’t spread the rumours anymore.”

On Wednesday, Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man said that 130 were hospitalised following the Mong Kok unrest. Thirteen people, including two in a critical condition, were still hospitalised.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.