Hong Kong police quash rumors of mask penalty

Jan Yumul, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2020 08:04 PM

Police wear surgical masks as they stand guard outside the Legislative Council following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Hong Kong, China, February 26, 2020. Tyrone Siu, Reuters

HONG KONG - Hong Kong police officers will not stop the public for not wearing masks nor will they fine people on the spot, a spokesperson from the Police Public Relations Branch confirmed to ABS-CBN News Thursday.

This, after rumors had circulated on Facebook that police officers were stopping people on the streets for not wearing masks amid the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak. 

One story being shared claimed that a foreign domestic worker was allegedly pulled aside by police who threatened to arrest her for not wearing a mask, but was released after paying a $600 "fine" in cash.

Another version being circulated is a supposed audio recording of a woman who witnessed a Filipino "being fined" on a bus for not wearing a mask. 

"So far, Wan Chai District has not received any reports or complaints of similar nature. Members of public should ascertain the identity of any self-claimed police officer in case of doubt, by calling the nearest police station or 999 for clarification, if necessary," the spokesperson told ABS-CBN News.

Hong Kong has confirmed 92 cases of the new coronavirus, which originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. 

Some 80,000 infections in China and other parts of the world have been recorded by far.