The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A video was shared on April 19, 2021, alongside a claim that while traffic police officers in Guangdong forcibly confiscated a motorbike, they were assaulted by the owner of the motorbike and onlookers were cheering to support the assault.
- The incident happened around 17:35 on September 3, 2017, according to the police’s official statement. It did not happen recently, as purported in the claim.
- The official statement issued by Guangdong local police authority claims the motorbike owner breached the safety regulation by not wearing a helmet and violently assaulted the three police officers while they attempted to educate him. Therefore, it can be confirmed that the video shows assaults on police in Guangdong.
- Based on the ambient sounds of the video, it cannot be concluded that the onlookers were cheering to support the assault on police.
- Our ruling: Therefore, we rate the claim as PARTIALLY TRUE.
Sound of Hope Radio, an online Chinese-language radio network, published an article with a 2-minute video from a Twitter account (as shown below) on April 19, 2021. The article claims that the video shows a recent incident in Guangdong, a coastal province in southern China. It is purported that in the incident, traffic police officers forcibly confiscated a motorbike and the owner of the motorbike resisted violently. When one of the police officers was allegedly struck on the head and he fell down, it appears that the onlookers were cheering to support the assault, says the article.
— 吴文行wenxingwu (@wuwenhang) April 18, 2021
The video on Twitter had been viewed thousands of times and shared hundreds of times. It had received 61 comments and 321 likes as of the issuance of this report.
According to the motorbike registration mark “Yue R”, in which Yue stands for a province and R stands for a specific region, it can be confirmed the motorbike was registered in Qingyuan city, a prefecture-level city in Guangdong. Based on the shop signages shown in the video, a keyword search on AutoNavi map, a Chinese web mapping service, further confirmed that the incident happened at 1 East Road, Taihe county, Qingxin district, Qingyuan city, Guangdong province.
A keyword search for news stories related to the above location found a video from a TV programme produced by Guangdong Radio and Television, a Guangdong provincial broadcaster. In the video, it is reported that three police officers were assaulted at the above address. A screenshot comparison shows the two video clips were shot in the same scene. The local police authority published a statement regarding this incident on September 9, 2017. The incident happened around 17:35 on September 3, 2017, according to the statement. It did not happen recently, as mentioned in the claim.
The statement claims that the owner of the motorbike breached the safety regulation by not wearing a helmet and violently assaulted the three police officers while they tried to educate him. “The man kicked over the motorbike and used a helmet and bricks to attack Mr. Liu and the other two police officers who tried to break up the attack. The three police officers suffered a varied extent of injuries and the culprit fled from the scene,” the statement adds. The video shows that the police officers were indeed attacked by a helmet and bricks and one of them who was hit on the head, fell down and stood up again after a few seconds. Therefore, it can be confirmed that the video shows assaults on police in Guangdong.
The ambient sounds in the video show onlookers were shouting, but it is inconclusive whether they were cheering to support the assault or not.
Therefore, we rate the claim as PARTIALLY TRUE.
- Sound of Hope Radio Network, “Traffic police officers of Qingyuan in Guangdong trying to confiscate a motorbike were struck in the head and the onlookers were cheering the attack (video),” April 19, 2021.
- Twitter video, April 18, 2021.
- The police office of Qingxin district in Qingyuan city of Guangdong, official Weibo post, September 7, 2017.
- Guangdong Radio and Television, video, September 4, 2017.