Macau: Netizen charged for reporting on Bank Run

On September 24, there was a bank run in the Wing Hang Bank in Macau as the customers believed that the bank was caught in the sub-prime related financial crisis.

A netizen, city hermit, later known to be a school teacher, passed through a bank branch at Nova Aterro da Areia Preta and wrote down what he witnessed in a local forum, with his personal reflections on the financial crisis, when he was back home. However, according to Macao Daily's report, the netizen was summoned in October 8 and charged with two criminal offenses in “fabricating dangerous information” (濫用虛構危險訊號)and “sedition of collective violation” (煽動集體違令). The Ministerio Publico da Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau (the public ministry of the special regional administration of Macau) found there was lack of evidence in the two charges and handed the case back to the police for future investigation.

On the evening of October 8, city hermit reports in the forum that he was charged by the bank for criminal libel.

So what exactly has city hermit said? Let's look at the post at cyberctm:


Bank Run in Wing Hang Bank
Tonight, there was a bank run in the Wing Hang Bank, in the branch at Nova Aterro da Areia Preta. A crowd of bank customers tried to withdraw money from the bank. Around 10 policemen were on the spot to keep the order. The bank staff gave out appointment tickets for the customers. There were around 300 of them lining up for the tickets.
Wing Hang Bank has had a very high profile in recent year. Their stock rose from 10 – 20 dollars to 70 dollars.
Wing Hang is also handling salaries for all Catholic schools in Macau (unfortunately I am one of the staff members). If something happens to this bank, the impact would be huge.
I feel really bad and don't know what to do.
Probably the bank run is related to the sub-prime crisis.
The bank said it is a rumor, let's hope so.
People save their deposits through hard work and by repressing their consumption, now it is like an empty dream. It is better to spend all the money and live lightly.
Oh, people are so fragile, we store our savings like ants, while the crocodiles grab the money away so easily.
Oh, I hope all these are not real!

City hermit keeps updating his status at cyberctm and receives more than 700 comments, many showing their support.

User 1loveU1314 said

港澳已經越來越CCTV化, 吾好下下用老米個套資訊新聞自由, 呢度吾WORK架,

鋤你就一個莫須有, 已經搞掂你

Both Hong Kong and Macau are becoming more and more CCTV, now the slogan of freedom of press doesn't work any more. They don't even need to give you a reason for “handling” you.

User 八哥仔 said


This is really frightening, what can we talk about then??!!!!
When we talk, we tend to add our own analysis and our own feeling… so helpless.

User 666 commented that:

上面要和諧, 要[教訓]一下D刁民, 但又冇野入, 咪的人上去煩下囉..

下面就明知係多鳩餘, 咪例行問下, 放人囉…

情況將會係咁, 冇乜野需要擔心

People from the upper rank want to punish disobedient citizens, but they don't have any concrete charges, so they decide to create trouble and waste your time…
People from the lower ranks need to fulfill their duty, so they just do their job, ask you questions and let you go.
The situation will go on like this, no need to worry about it.

User cheese lobster was worried about user privacy issue:


We don't have anymore freedom of speech in Macau, there is only white terror. We also don't have privacy, cXm gave the user information to the police, which means the virtual world and the real world are directly connected, what has been said = to what has been done. On the internet, if you said you are poor and want to rob a bank, probably you would get charged and put into jail. We have been banned from the mere act of thinking…

User udus:


It is obvious that the police has abused their power.
In Macau, most civil servants are serving for power and money, not for citizens.
This kind of incident would only affect ordinary people they have to waste their time and take up the pressure. i hope the police gang can be more reasonable in their actions.

Since the mainstream reports failed to report the netizen side of the story, a new website, The Truth is out Here, has been created to criticize mainstream reports and to monitor freedom of speech and expression in Macau:





The Truth is Out There aims to monitor the mainstream media in Macau. It is not a news website nor a web magazine but an archive for documenting and commenting on biased reports.

If there is major incident, the website can also serve as a platform for information flow.

In order to keep the website's credibility and objectivity, we would try to stay away from debate and will not post un-confirmed information or rumors. If there is un-confirmed information, there will be a footnote.

Our objective is to counter mainstream media's misleading and bias reports.

On the city hermit case, mainstream reports on October 10 took it as a fact that the “city hermit” had posted “invalid speech”. The Truth is Out Here pointed out that:


The articles have omitted an essential point: before “city hermit” posted the information on the web, the bank run had already happened. “City hermit”‘s post did not trigger the bank run.

On October 11, a Macau Daily article said that a netizen accused “city hermit” for spreading rumors. The Truth is Out Here pointed out that:

真相是,當時網上言論,是一面倒支持”城市隱者”,認為”城市隱者”在網上反映擠提現場的實況不應構成任何罪行。而持相反意見者在眾多網友中只佔三、幾個。而澳門日報就選擇性地引用了”少數意見”來評擊”城市隱者” “散佈別有用心的謠言”。而其他意見隻字不提。

The truth is, on the internet most of the netizens supported “city hermit” and said the report and comment on the bank run should not be regarded as a crime. There are only very few oppositional voices and the Macau Daily has selectively chosen these minority voices to attack “city hermit” for “spreading rumor with hidden intention” while omitting all other opinions.

According to city hermit, he is now consulting a lawyer to defend him in the case and will consider suing the bank in return. Further updates will be posted in the comment.


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.