A 1 minute video showing a man, seemingly an Arab dignitary, getting out of a car and being received by a welcome party, before he is suddenly whisked off by his security guards, amidst gunshots and commotion, is going viral on social media. Users sharing the video claimed that it showed the Saudi Defence Minister being startled by fireworks as he visited the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Newschecker found these claims to be untrue.
The video has been shared on Twitter by user @AshTheWiz which has garnered 6,774 likes and 2,149 retweets on the platform. The caption of the video reads, ‘The Saudi Defense Minister arrived at the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Apparently, the Chinese forgot to inform the Saudi Arabian Minister or his staff that there would be Firecrackers to welcome him. Watch the fun…’.
Newschecker found similar claims on Twitter with similar captions.
Fact Check /Verification
We started our investigation by conducting a reverse image search of the key-frames of the video on Google and found that the video had been shared on Facebook by an Arabic News outlet from their verified Facebook page on 13th December, 2019. The caption, when translated via Google translate reads ‘Military exercise for personal guards in the State of Kuwait’.
Upon further investigation, Newschecker found a tweet by Al Hadath which is an Arab news interactive channel focusing on political events in the Arab region on 12th December, 2019 on Twitter with the caption ‘Gulf Defense and Aviation Exhibition | A fake military show by the Emiri Guard’. The tweet shows the same incident from a different angle.
Upon conducting a keyword search with the words “5th Gulf Defence and Aviation Exhibition” and “Kuwait”, Newschecker found a news report by Kuwait Times uploaded on 10th December, 2019 on their website titled ‘Gulf Defense, Aerospace expo kicks off featuring 32 countries’.
According to the article, The 5th Gulf Military and Aerospace (GDA) exhibition and conference, which began on 9th December, 2019 in Kuwait, was attended by 212 top worldwide defence and weapons firms from 32 nations. The three-day exhibition was free to attend for the general public and was held at the Kuwait International Fairground in Mishref.
Newschecker also checked the Instagram page of the Kuwait Army and found an Instagram post by The Official Account Of Kuwait Army General Staff Head Quarters on 16th December, 2019. The video shows the same incident but from a different and clearer angle.
The caption, written in Arabic when translated via Google translate reads “Part of the Amiri Guard’s display that was carried out during the 5th Gulf Defense and Aviation Exhibition, which was held during the period from 10 to 12 December 2019 at the Mishref fairground.”
Newschecker’s investigation reveals that the footage of a military drill conducted by the Kuwait Amiri Guard in December 2019 is being passed off as the Saudi Defence Minister being startled by fireworks as he visited the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh on the the occasion of the Chinese New Year.
Facebook video of Arabic News outlet on 13th December, 2019
Tweet by Al Hadath on 12th December, 2019
Kuwait Times report, Gulf Defense, Aerospace expo kicks off featuring 32 countries, 10th December, 2019
Instagram video by The Official Account Of Kuwait Army General Staff HeadQuarters on 16th December, 2019
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