Pre-pandemic photo recirculates in false posts about Covid-19 outbreak linked to Hong Kong gym
Following the detection of a Covid-19 infection cluster in Hong Kong linked to a gym, multiple Facebook and online forum posts have shared a photo that they claim shows an employee at the gym and a club member engaging in indelicate behaviour. The claim is false: the photo has circulated online since 2016 in posts about a fitness instructor and his wife in Thailand.
The photo forms part of a collage posted on Facebook on March 12, 2021.
It shows a shirtless man and a woman photographed in an adult pose. “The whole thing has become reasonable,” the photo’s Chinese-language text overlay translates to English.
More than a hundred Covid-19 cases had been linked to the gym as of March 17, 2021.
However, the claim is false; the photo is unrelated to the Covid-19 outbreak in Hong Kong.
While the 2016 Facebook photo is not captioned, Sirichai Daothaisong’s profile indicates he is a fitness trainer living in Bangkok, Thailand.
He denied the photo was taken in Hong Kong during the Covid-19 pandemic as the misleading posts allege.
“It was taken a while back with my wife at the gym near my neighbourhood (in Thailand),” he told AFP in a phone interview on March 16, 2021.
His sister, Kanlayakorn Daotaisong, also denied the claim, posting a clarification on Facebook on March 11, 2021.
“The photo is my brother and his wife,” she said. “We’re Thai and we've never been Hongkong before.”
The misleading claim was also debunked by Hong Kong fact-checking organization Kauyim Media.