Thu, Apr 27, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Man fined for spreading false bird flu information

Staff writer, with CNA

A man has been fined NT$50,000 (US$1,658) for spreading false information about bird flu on the Internet, Tainan City Government officials said on Tuesday.

The man left a comment on Tainan Mayor William Lai’s (賴清德) Facebook page earlier this year, saying that a duck farm in Tainan’s Sinhua District (新化) had been hit by avian influenza and that all the ducks were culled and buried at the farm, the Tainan Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office said.

The comment came as Tainan’s epidemic prevention workers were busy dealing with an outbreak of bird flu in the city, it said.

City epidemic prevention workers then conducted a full inspection of all duck farms in Sinhua, but found no unusual deaths of ducks, the office said.

City officials then asked for the assistance of the police to search for the man, it said, adding that he was later identified and questioned by police.

He was fined by the Tainan Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office for violating the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease (動物傳染病防治條例).

Violators face a fine of between NT$50,000 and NT$1 million for disseminating rumors about infectious animal diseases or false information about epidemics, according to Article 43 of the statute.

The case followed another incident in February in which a 24-year-old man and a high-school student circulated a photograph of a leaning building on social media, shortly after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit Tainan on Feb. 11.

The photograph was later confirmed to be from a magnitude 6.6 temblor that hit the city in February last year, killing 117 people.

They were convicted of violating the Civil Code and the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法).

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