After it was revealed that allegations that some Filipinos had been refused service at a bakery were fabrications, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) yesterday urged the public to verify their information and refrain from spreading rumors on the Internet, adding that police would continue to monitor the Web.
“I would like to urge the public to refrain from spreading rumors on the Internet about abuses of Philippine nationals without verifying the stories, as such behavior may create trouble for the public, as well as for the government as we try to negotiate with the Philippines in the aftermath” of the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard, Lee told reporters outside a legislative meeting.
“The police will continue to monitor the Internet and I’ve also asked them to be more cautious in their investigation of rumors and not to threaten freedom of expression,” he said.
Lee made the remarks after an Internet user nicknamed Little V (小V) admitted that her post on Facebook that a Filipino domestic caregiver would not dare go into a bakery due to the shooting incident was “merely a guess.”
In the original post, the Internet user said that she saw a Filipino with a Taiwanese woman in a wheelchair standing outside a bakery, and said that as the Filipino worker did not dare to walk into the bakery due to the shooting incident she gave the Filipino the bread that she had purchased.
After other Internet users cast doubt on her story, Little V admitted that it was purely speculation and that she had asked neither the Philippine national nor the bakery owner to verify the story.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, three Internet users who posted stories about Filipino workers being refused service in restaurants were charged with violation of the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法) after police probes found their stories to have been fabricated.