Video of Swedish department store falsely shared as Malaysia's 'Pakatan Harapan flag raised in China'

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A video has been viewed thousands of times after it was shared in Facebook posts falsely claiming that it shows the flag of Malaysia's Pakatan Harapan coalition hoisted in China. The video began to circulate ahead of November 2022 general elections in which the multi-ethnic coalition enjoyed wide support from Chinese-Malaysian voters. However, the video actually shows the flag of a Swedish department store and the clip was filmed in the Swedish capital, Stockholm -- not China.

The 44-second video, which shows a row of red flags fluttering atop a building, was posted on Facebook here on November 18, 2022, where it has been viewed more than 700 times.

"The PH flags are already flying magnificently in China," read the post's Malaysian-language caption. "You can guess what is implied. This is even before they win."

In the clip, a man can be heard speaking in Cantonese, saying: "Long live Harapan" and "we will surely win on November 19."

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on December 22, 2022

"PH" refers to Pakatan Harapan, Malaysia's multiethnic coalition comprising several parties, including the Democratic Action Party (DAP), which is dominated by Chinese-Malaysian members.

During the Malaysian election campaign, political opponents branded the DAP a "pro-communist party", prompting a legal action from one DAP lawmaker.

The post began to circulate ahead of Malaysia's general elections on November 19, 2022.

Following a five-day political impasse after inconclusive polls, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as prime minister, marking a victory for his Pakatan Harapan coalition.

The video continued to circulate alongside a similar claim on Election Day on Facebook here, here and here -- racking up more than 2,100 views.

However, the claim is false.

Swedish department store

A closer look at the red flags in the video show they feature the name of a Swedish department store chain, not Pakatan Harapan.

Flags visible at the nine-second mark of the video feature the text "Åhléns" (below-left) and not "Harapan" (below-right), as featured on the coalition's logo.

Comparison of the flag in the misleading video (left) and Pakatan Harapan's logo, which is used on its flags

Based on a keyword search, AFP is able to find Åhléns, which is a chain of department stores in Sweden.

The Swedish store's logo, mounted on a big billboard, is visible at the 15-second mark of the footage.

AFP geolocated its store in Stockholm as shown on Google Street View, as captured on May 2016, below:

Restaurant Tang, which can also be seen in the video, is also visible on Google Street View here.