Police arrest man for sharing hoax saying 110 million Chinese immigrants are coming to disrupt election

Chinese immigrants amounting to almost half of Indonesia’s 264 million population are coming to Indonesia armed with fake ID cards so that they can illegally vote in next April’s presidential election, according to a social media post that has gotten one of the people who shared it arrested for spreading fake news.

On Tuesday evening, the National Police’s Cyber Crimes Unit arrested a 35-year-old man, identified by his initials SY, in Bandung, West Java. SY was accused of sharing the hoax, which falsely claims that the Indonesian military recently detained 110 million (!) Chinese immigrants who had already made fake Indonesian ID cards so that they could vote for incumbent President Joko Widodo in next year’s election.

(Besides the obvious logistical nightmare of actually pulling off the absurd voter fraud scheme, many of us who have had Indonesian ID cards all our lives still haven’t been registered in next year’s voters database.)

As reported by CNN Indonesia, it appears that SY wasn’t even the creator of the fake news story, yet he was arrested for deliberately spreading misinformation which could cause public unrest — a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.

“The suspect did not clarify or verify the truth behind the story that he found on his Facebook feed. Instead, he shared the content on his Youtube account,” National Police Spokesman Brigadier General Dedi Prasetyo said.

Dedi added that 93,000 people had already viewed the video on SY’s Youtube account. The identity of the creator of the video is not yet known.

The issue of foreign workers and investment is likely to be a major point of contention in the 2019 presidential election as Jokowi’s challenger, Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto, is making economic nationalism a centerpiece of his campaign.

The administration had to fend off accusations that it was opening the floodgates to foreign workers earlier this year after Jokowi issued a presidential decree that made it easier for businesses to apply for certain short-term work permits for foreigners. Officials pointed out that while the actual number of long-term foreign workers in Indonesia was 86,000, that figure was dwarfed by the country’s overall population of 264 million.

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