Another Hong Kong reporter has been barred from entering Macau, after a government spokesperson denied it was taking action against foreign journalists.

An Apple Daily journalist was turned away from the border on Thursday for being “a threat to internal security and stability.” Last week, other journalists from Apple Daily, HK01 and the South China Morning Post were banned from entering the territory on the same grounds. They had planned to report on the aftermath of Typhoon Hato and relief efforts, after the storm claimed 10 lives in the city.

See more: ‘This is a joke’: Hong Kong democratic lawmaker Helena Wong latest to be denied entry to Macau

macau apple daily journalist denied entry
A notice given to an Apple Daily photographer who was denied entry.

On Tuesday, the head of Macau’s Government Information Bureau Victor Chan said that Unitary Police Service Commissioner-General Ma Io Kun had already explained that decisions to deny entry were made in accordance with the law, which states that individuals who may have an impact on social order may not be admitted to the territory.

“We don’t know the professions of the individuals seeking entry,” said Chan, according to Ming Pao. “So the claim that Hong Kong reporters have been denied entry are not true.”

Chan said that many non-local journalists had visited Macau since the typhoon, and that they had been able to complete their work smoothly.

See more: Journalism watchdogs lambaste Macau for denying entry to Hong Kong journalists reporting on typhoon

victor chan macau government information
Victor Chan, director of the Macau SAR Government Information Bureau Victor Chan. File photo: Macau Government Information Bureau.

Editorial staff from at least five media outlets in Macau have received instructions from upper management to publish more positive stories in the aftermath of the storm and minimise critical reporting, according to the Macau Journalists’ Association.

When asked about the alleged instructions, Chan said: “I have no knowledge of this situation, I do not know of this news.” He said that the Macanese government respected the media.

See more: Keep it positive: Macau editorial staff told to minimise critical reporting after typhoon, says media watchdog

Two more people arrested for ‘spreading rumors’

On Thursday, Macau police arrested two more people on suspicion of releasing false information alleging that the authorities had sought to cover up the discovery of bodies in a car park during Typhoon Hato. On Monday, authorities made two arrests related to the same allegation.

Judiciary police spokesperson Yeung Sau-chan said on Thursday that a 63-year-old woman had been arrested for using her phone to spread unverified information. The rumour alleged that the authorities had found five corpses in a Fai Chi Kei car park – among them, a family of four who drowned after being trapped in a car.

Yeung said that the woman had sent the message to two people and a chat group containing 30 individuals without verifying if the information was true.

Yeung said that the woman and her a 19-year-old friend – whom she said she received the information from – were arrested.

Article 181 of the Penal Code forbids citizens from spreading information which damages the credibility of any individual or institution which exercises public authority.

Yeung called on citizens to refrain from sending or forwarding around unverified news and statements, in order to prevent unnecessary speculation and social panic.

Jun Pang is an independent writer and researcher. She has previously worked in NGOs advocating for refugees' and migrants' rights in Asia and Europe.