The state-run Peoples.com.cn and Xinhua claimed Apple Daily boss Jimmy Lai made HK$1 billion from short-selling Hang Seng Index (HSI) futures after the Occupy campaign broke out.
Many mainland netizens demolished the reports.
“The reporter doesn’t have even common sense of finane at all,” one netizen said.
The report was posted on Peoples.com.cn and Hong Kong based pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po on October 3, citing a rumor spreading through WhatsApp and WeChat platforms.
The rumor cited an unnamed security firm boss as saying that Lai placed short bets on 2,000 units of HSI futures (the version spreading on WhatsApp said it was 10,000 units) on Sept. 25, and therefore gained HK$1 billion from the index plunge.
Finance commentator He Jiangbing questioned the report. As one index point is worth HK$50, and if Lai were to make HK$1 billion from the 2,000 HSI futures contracts, the index would have to plunge 10,000 points, which was not the case, He wrote in an article.
On Zhihu.com, a popular Q&A community on the mainland, netizens spotted other questionable points in the ambiguous information provided in the report.
He’s article was soon deleted on Oct. 5. The website that posted his article suspended its services “due to technical problems”.
The moral of the story? Never believe rumors, especially on state-run media.
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