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Man Beaten By Hong Kong Police Did Not Die, One Year Old Video Goes Viral With False Claim

The original video footage was shot by the Hong Kong Free Press in August, 2019, and the man pinned to the ground did not die.

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Claim 

A tweet posted on 1 June 2020 claimed that a student who was beaten by Hong Kong police later died in a hospital. The tweet was posted along with a graphic video showing three men forcefully pinning a young man to the ground with one of them pressing his hand and knee on his neck. 

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This particular claim along with the video has gone viral in the last couple of days. It’s been circulating on Facebook as well. 

Factcheck

The viral video shows a man being pressed to the ground by three other men in what looks like a post-protest scene in Hong Kong. The man pinned can be heard saying, “I understand, don’t press me, I’m sorry.” (translated)

Seeing that the claim was associated with Hong Kong, we first got in touch with Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP), a non-profit English-language newspaper run by journalists. They confirmed with us via email that the original video footage was shot by them and posted on their Youtube channel in 2019. See the video below. 

[Graphic] Hong Kong police make bloody arrest, assisted by officers suspected to be undercover

Causeway Bay, 11.8.19 – see hongkongfp.com for full story. Copyright Hong Kong Free Press Limited. ====== More at http://www.hongkongfp.com – Hong Kong’s onl…

The video titled, “Hong Kong police make a bloody arrest, assisted by officers suspected to be undercover,” was posted on 11 August 2019. The video shows a man being forcefully pinned to the ground by three men with one of them eventually kneeling on his neck. The bloodied man on the ground can be seen moaning in pain and saying, “Even my front tooth is broken, I am sorry.” This incident took place at the end of another day of violent demonstrations in Hong Kong. 

The HKFP covered this incident in their report on 12 August detailing how the Hong Kong police made a bloody arrest with the help of officers who were suspected to be undercover as protestors. The report claims that this incident “could be the first proof of officers going undercover as protesters since the anti-extradition bill movement began in June.”

Video: Hong Kong police make bloody arrest, assisted by officers suspected to be undercover as protesters | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Graphic images] Hong Kong police made mass arrests on the streets of Causeway Bay on Sunday night – aided by men who appeared to be undercover officers dressed as protesters. A protester was seen being wrestled to the ground by two men at around 10pm – one was a police officer in riot gear, the […]

Another report published by HKFP in September 2019 describes how the Hong Kong police denied hitting the arrested protesters on the head. In fact, Steve Li, senior superintendent from the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said that after watching the video he believes, “the two officers used appropriate force to subdue the man and conduct an arrest,” stated the report.  

The September HKFP also reported that the injured protester identified himself as Chow-ka-lok and was taken to a detention center after his arrest. He was later sent to North District Hospital, as reported by Apple Daily.  

The New York Times (NYT) published a story on this incident in September 2019. The story examines footage from the night that undercover agents infiltrated crowds around a popular shopping mall and beat up protestors on the night of 11 August 2019. Three men who were injured that night, including the man shown pinned to the ground in the video, share their stories in this NYT article. 

The Telegraph UK also speaks to one of the injured men that night as detailed in their story published in October 2019. 

Conclusion 

The tweet claiming the death of a student after being beaten up by the Hong Kong police is false. Hong Kong Free Press’ email confirmation and the above-listed news reports make it clear that the man beaten up and pinned to the ground in the video did not die. 

Tools Used

  • Google Advanced Search 
  • Twitter Advanced Search
  • Youtube

Result: False 

(If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form)

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Coronavirus

No, He Is Not Bharat Biotech’s VP Taking The First Dose of COVID Vaccine ‘Covaxin’

Social media users circulated a false image claiming that the vice president of Bharat Biotech has undergone the first clinical trial of the coronavirus vaccine.

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No, He Is Not Bharat Biotech’s VP Taking The First Dose of COVID Vaccine ‘Covaxin’

Several social users posted a picture of a woman thrusting a syringe in man’s vein and claimed that the man in the picture is Bharat Biotech’s Vice President, Dr. VK Srinivas, and the first dose of the vaccine was administered on him.

According to a report in Live Mint, Bharat Biotech, an unlisted Indian vaccine maker, has received regulatory approval to start human clinical trials for its experimental shot. The phase 1 trial of Covaxine will begin next week. The company has planned to enroll 375 people in the first phase of clinical trials.

We found that the same image is viral on Twitter and Facebook with a caption, “Dr. V. K.Srinivas, Vice President, Bharat biotech, taking Corona vaccine clinical trial immediately after taking the first dose. He is the first person in India to take vaccine developed by him and his team in Bharat Biotech. Look at the confidence.”

Fact Check

As we began fact-checking the claim, we looked for some media reports backing the claim, but we did not find any authentic information to corroborate.

However, during our research, we came across the statement tweeted by Bharat Biotech. In a statement posted on their Twitter handle, Bharat Biotech said that individual images and messages circulated on social media platforms had not disseminated by Bharat biotech. The image is a routine procedural blood draw for testing all production staff.

We now searched, if Dr.VK Srinivas is the Vice President of the Bharat biotech. During our research, we did not find any results for his name. We found that Dr. V Krishna Mohan is the Executive Director, and T Srinivas is the Chief Financial Officer of the management team of the pharmaceutical.

Conclusion

It is evident from our fact check that social media users circulated a false image claiming that the vice president of Bharat Biotech has undergone the first clinical trial of the coronavirus vaccine.

Tools Used

  • Google Search
  • Media Reports
  • Twitter Search

Result: False


If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form

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Fact check

The Claim On British Airways Permanently Shutting Down Is False

British Airways confirmed with us via email that it’s not shutting down its airline services nor did they create the video in context.

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British Airways Is not Permanently Shutting Down

Claim 

A message claiming the airline service, British Airways, is permanently shutting down due to heavy business loss incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic has been widely circulating on Whatsapp. 

Whatsapp message claim on British Airways permanently shutting down
Whatsapp message claim on British Airways permanently shutting down
Video claiming the closure of British Airways

This Whatsapp message is being shared with the above video claiming to be created by the airlines. 

Similar social media posts claiming BA’s shut down can be viewed here and here

Fact Check

As a first point of verification, we searched through the British Airways (BA) website for any information that suggests their permanent closure. In their Coronavirus travel and service updates section we came across updates on new protective measures introduced by the airline and more. Last updated on 26 June at 15:20 (at the time of writing this fact check), this section does not include any information on permanent closure of their services.

BA published a press release on 2 July, 2020 on their website’s media centre stating that the Airways reopens its routes throughout July. 

British Airways 2 July, 2020 press release on reopening routes
British Airways 2 July, 2020 press release on reopening routes

Next, we looked up their social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for any posts that suggest the closing of BA. Again, we couldn’t find any information related to this on these platforms. 

In fact on 20 June 2020, BA posted a video on their official Youtube page saying they look forward to welcoming people back on board. The description reads:

“In the past few months, we’ve all been missing the people and places we love. When the world opens up once more, we are looking forward to welcoming you back on board…”

British Airways video on welcoming its customers back on board

Verifying the claim video

Through a reverse image search of certain video frames as well as a keyword search on Youtube, we came across a channel named Unite the Union Yout which seems to have originally posted the video in context on 14 June 2020. Its description reads: 

“British Airways has applied to dismiss all of its staff from 15 June 2020. Before we leave you, the staff of British Airways would like to say thank you and goodbye. #WeAreBA” 

On 9 May, this account posted a video titled “A message to British Airways from its staff” after the company announced its plan to lay off thousands of staff members in order to restructure. We found this account to be impersonating another Youtube channel called Unite the Union which is the trade union representing BA’s stewards and stewardesses. The former has copied the actual trade union’s logo as seen below. 

Top image is of the Youtube account impersonating the official trade union channel shown below.
Top image is of the Youtube account impersonating the official trade union channel shown below.

Let’s note that the airline has recently been in news for firing 350 of its staff and putting another 300 staff members in a pool for rehire when needed, reports The Sun. A couple of weeks back a Transport Select Committee Report accused the airline of taking advantage of the pandemic after they announced a massive restructuring which would include 12,000 layoffs and changes to the terms and conditions of remaining staff. 

As a final confirmation, we directly reached out to British Airways, who confirmed with us via email that BA is not shutting down its services and the video in context was not created by them.  

You can read our other fact checks related to COVID-19 pandemic here.

Conclusion 

After receiving official confirmation from British Airways, we can safely say that the airline is not shutting down its services. 

Tools Used 

  • Reverse image search
  • Twitter advanced search
  • Google advanced search

Result: False 

If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form.

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Fact check

Prashant Bhushan Does Not Support Islamic Terrorists Nor Did He File A PIL Against Tik Tok Ban

The claims in context are with regard to Prashant Bhushan, an advocate in the SCI and come after his response to Tik Tok India’s contribution of Rs. 30 crore to the PM Cares fund.

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Prashant Bhushan Does Not Support Islamic Terrorists Nor Did He File A PIL Against Tik Tok Ban

Claim

A Facebook post claims that Prashant Bhushan is standing for Tik Tok and has a history of supporting Islamic terrorists and anti-national people. This claim was posted 1 July, 2020 by a Facebook account called राष्ट्रवाद सर्वोपरि.  On checking its page transparency we found that the account was created on 17, May 2020.

Prashant Bhushan is standing for TikTok. प्रशांत भूषण का इतिहास रहा है हमेशा इस्लामिक आतंकवादी और एंटी नेशनल लोगों का साथ देते हैं l 😡

Người đăng: राष्ट्रवाद सर्वोपरि vào Thứ Tư, 1 tháng 7, 2020

Accompanied with this claim is a screenshot of another post from a Twitter account called The Express of India which claims that Bhushan filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court against the government order to ban 59 Chinese apps. 

https://twitter.com/ExpressOfIndia/status/1278187485294505984?s=20

The screenshot from The Express of India is widely circulating on social media platforms since yesterday. Below is an example of another viral image.

Image of viral social media post claiming Prashant Bhushan files PIL against government order of ban on 59 Chinese apps.
Image of viral social media post

Fact Check

The claims in context are with regard to Prashant Bhushan, an advocate in the Supreme Court of India. These claims come after his response to a Twitter post by Tik Tok India which states that it’s making a contribution of Rs. 30 crore to the PM Cares fund. Bhushan’s 30 June tweet says, “Tik Tok’s humble contribution of 30 Crores to humble Chaiwala’s fund! So ungrateful!” 

The first claim in the Facebook post alleges that Bhushan stands for Tik Tok and has a history of supporting Islamic terrorists and anti-national people. We haven’t found any credible evidence or news story which suggests this. Therefore, this claim has no basis to support it. 

The accompanying screenshot is from a parody Twitter account (@ExpressOfIndia) created on 20 April, 2020 with 571 followers at the time of writing this fact check. The description in its profile reads:

“Independent Satire News Outlet. Parody Editorial. All Tweets Are Fake. In Memory Of @TiimesHow.”

This Twitter account impersonates the actual news organisation The Indian Express by trying to copy its logo, font and doing a wordplay with its name. See image comparing the two accounts below:

Image of parody account on the left. Image of authentic news organisation on the right.
Image of parody account on the left. Image of authentic news organisation on the right.

The parody account in its bio pays its “respect” to the now suspended fake account @TiimesHow

Screenshot of suspended Twitter account @TiimesHow
Screenshot of suspended Twitter account @TiimesHow

Implication of “1 particular community” in the tweet is to the Muslim community in reference to recent stories about them using Tik Tok in this pandemic.  

As a final confirmation, we reached out to Mr. Bhushan himself, who clarified on call that he did not file any PIL in the Supreme Court against the government order of banning the 59 Chinese apps and that the claims are false. 

Our other fact checks related to Tik Tok can be read here.

Conclusion 

The claims in context with regard to Prashant Bhushan are false. 

Tools Used 

  • Twitter advanced search
  • Facebook
  • Google advanced search 

Result: False 


If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form.

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