A Tuen Mun district councillor was arrested Wednesday night for “wasting police employment” after falsely claiming on social media that he was apprehended by the police.
Cary Lo, who beat pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho in last year’s district council elections, posted on Facebook on Nov. 21 that he was threatened and arrested by police in Yuen Long that night while assisting two people who had been just been apprehended. In the since-deleted post, Lo said that he was denied access to lawyers at the police station and was later released unconditionally.
After Lo published the post, local media including Apple Daily reported the arrest.
A police spokesperson clarified the case with media on Wednesday night.
“Since these are very serious allegations, the police was highly concerned about this incident and put in significant effort to investigate,” a police spokesperson said. “We found out that the arrestee was not apprehended by any officer in Yuen Long that night, nor did he enter any police station.”
The spokesman also said that the police had to look into the the validity of Lo’s claims, and therefore had decided to arrest him for “wasting employment of police.” He called on the public not to be misled by “fake news” online, and to check official channels including government websites and the police force’s social media pages.
Lo posted a public apology on Facebook Wednesday morning, explaining that there was miscommunication between him and his assistant, who typed up the Facebook post, when he was explaining what happened that night over the phone.
He said he was “deeply sorry” about the incident and would be more careful about posting information online in the future. He added that he removed the post on Monday, two days after it was published.
In a statement on Facebook, police condemned Lo for “lying, manipulating the truth and slandering the police,” adding that his “blatant lies” damaged the integrity of the police force.
According to the criminal procedure ordinance, the charge is punishable by a fine of HK$2,000 (US$258) and up to six months’ imprisonment.