Hong Kong protest singer Denise Ho poses during an interview with AFP prior to her address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on July 8, 2019. ( AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI)

Old photos of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist shared in false 'news' of her arrest

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Six photos of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Denise Ho in handcuffs have been shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter in September 2021 alongside a claim she was "arrested". But the photos have been shared in a misleading context: they show Ho being arrested during mass pro-democracy protests in 2014. As of October 14, 2021, there have been no official reports that she was arrested in September 2021.

The images of Denise Ho -- a Hong Kong-based Cantopop singer and staunch democracy advocate -- were shared here by a Twitter user on September 29, 2021.

"Denise Ho was arrested, as expected, but faster than we imagined," reads the simplified Chinese-language text above the images.

The post's simplified Chinese-language caption translates as: "Latest news: Denise Ho was arrested".

The photos show Hong Kong police officers leading Ho away in handcuffs.

A screenshot, taken on September 29, 2021, of the misleading post.

The images were shared alongside a similar claim on Twitter and Facebook.

Some social media users appeared to believe the reports were genuine.

"Expected this a long time ago! The CCP has no bottom line!" one social media user wrote, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.

"The evil party won’t let anyone off the hook when they take revenge," another wrote.

However, the images were shared in a misleading context. They actually show Ho being detained in 2014 during the pro-democracy Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong.

As of October 14, 2021, there have been no official reports that Ho was arrested in September 2021.

Ho is one of the few Hong Kong celebrities who openly supports the city's democracy movement and has found it increasingly hard to find venues and airtime as a result.

In September 2021, she was forced to cancel a concert after a venue pulling out citing "public security" concerns just days before her performance.

Occupy Central arrest

A reverse image search of the first photo found it was originally published here on Hong Kong news site Inmediahk on December 11, 2014.

A screenshot, taken on October 4, 2021, of Inmediahk Facebook post.

The photo's caption reads: "Denise Ho being arrested. Live in Admiralty at 17:05: Members of the Hong Kong Shield and artist Denise Ho were "removed" by the police, and were taken to the police tourist bus to be arrested".

Below is a screenshot comparison of the first photo in the misleading posts (L) and the Inmediahk photo (R):

A screenshot comparison of the first photo in the misleading post and the photo from Inmediahk.

The second photo was published here on Phoenix News Media on April 12, 2014.

The photo's caption reads: "Photo shows Denise Ho being escorted to leave by the police".

Below is a screenshot comparison of the second photo shared in misleading posts (L) and in the Phoenix News Media's photo (R):

A screenshot comparison of the second photo in the misleading post and the Phenoix news report.

A keyword search on Google has found similar shots of the third, fourth and fifth photos published here by Hong Kong broadcaster Television Broadcast Limited (TVB).

They were also published here by Hong Kong newspaper Headline on December 11, 2014.

Screenshots of the TVB livestream and the Headline news package.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photos in the misleading post (L) and the photos published by Headline (R):

A screenshot comparison of the third, forth and fifth photo in the misleading post and the Headline news package.

The sixth photo is a screenshot taken from the TVB livestream on December 11, 2014.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the sixth photo in the misleading posts (L) and the TVB livestream (R):

A screenshot comparison of the last photo in the misleading post and the TVB livestream.
Hong Kong protests