The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim:A Facebook post published Feb. 24, 2022, claims that the photo shows a large LeaveHomeSafe QR code sign installed in the atrium of a shopping mall in Hong Kong.
- Photographer Tommy Fung created the photo, and it was published Feb. 24, 2022, on his Instagram. He claims in the Instagram post that all his works are manipulated photos.
- Reporters from HKBU Fact Check and HK01 visited the shopping mall, respectively, on the day the claim was published and found no large-scale LeaveHomeSafe QR code sign installed there.
- Our ruling: We rate the claim as FALSE.
A photo was shared Feb. 24, 2022, on Facebook, along with a claim that it shows a large LeaveHomeSafe QR code sign installed in the atrium of Times Sqaure, a shopping mall in Hong Kong. The post, written in traditional Chines, translates as, “After the two-meter high LeaveHomeSafe QR Code in Maritime Square went viral on the internet, a larger LeaveHomeSafe QR Code (ig: surrealhk) appeared in Times Square today.” The picture has been widely circulating on Facebook.
The “vaccine pass” will be implemented starting Feb. 24, 2022, under which those with at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose will be permitted to enter specified premises. Operators of these premises must display a vaccine pass notice at the entry points. Law enforcement officers may also conduct spot checks at these premises. The vaccination records and exemption certificates that citizens are required to produce may be presented either in electronic or paper form. The vaccination records or exemption certificates could be uploaded to the LeaveHomeSafe app for showing the QR code to enter these premises.
As of the issuance of this report, the post had been shared 93 times, and it had received 36 comments and 604 likes or reactions.
A reverse image search found that the same photo was shared Feb. 24, 2022, in an Instagram post. The post claimed, “Scanning ‘LeaveHomeSafe’ QR code is mandatory now!” However, the post also claims that all the works published by this account are manipulated photos.
On Feb. 24, 2022, HKBU Fact Check visited Times Square and found no such large-scale “LeaveHomeSafe” QR code sign installed there. According to a photo taken the same day in Times Square by HK01’s reporter Lo Kwan Ho, there is no such a large QR code sign, either. Therefore, the photo circulating online has been doctored.
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- Facebook post (1), 24, 2022.
- Facebook post (2), 24, 2022.
- Facebook post (3), 24, 2022.
- gov.hk, “Vaccine pass starts Feb 24,” Feb. 21, 2022.
- Instagram, post, Feb. 24, 2022.
- HK01, “[Interview] IG popular photographer SurrealHK, interpretation of works and reflection on social problems,” Nov. 4, 2020.
- ZTYLEZ, “[Art City Travel] Surreal Hong Kong in my eyes-# surrealhk Tommy Fung,” Dec. 15, 2021.
- HK01, “Vaccine pass | A huge LeaveHomeSafe QR Code in Times Square is actually a photoshop creation,” Feb. 24, 2022.