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Photoshopped Image Blaming ‘Dragon’ As Cause Of Earthquake Gets Suspect Detained
By Mikelle Leow, 09 Jul 2019
Image via Shutterstock
An earthquake of a 6.0 magnitude shook the city of Yibin, Sichuan in China on 17 June, killing 13 and wounding 134 people. While many would attribute the tragedy to natural causes, one man propagated that a “giant dragon” was behind the quake with a doctored photo. His move has since landed him in detention.
The city’s police have identified and held the 50-year-old suspect, referred to as Zhang, in custody. The man was arrested for uploading a blatantly Photoshopped image of a giant snake meandering down a hillside on Chinese social network Weibo, claiming that a “dragon” was the cause of the disaster.
“A 120-meter (390-foot) giant dragon with a diameter of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) jumped out of the water this afternoon, attracting thousands of people,” read his caption, as translated by South China Morning Post. Zhang further alleged that “experts” had flown over to the area to confirm that the creature “had something to do with the earthquake.”
Law enforcers were driven to identify the man, as the post had “caused huge panic” in the community.
Fantastical claim aside, the picture was manipulated to laughable measures. You can see the unnatural shadows and white outline of the “dragon,” which is also depicted slithering atop a group of people. The unnatural sight also didn’t seem to shock the crowd in the photo.
That didn’t stop at least one person from falling for the trick. When told that the picture was doctored, an elderly woman scolded her granddaughter for fooling her.
According to Yibin police, Zhang has apologized for causing the uproar, defending that the image manipulation was “only meant to be a bit of fun.”
For the most part, internet users did not buy into the ruse. One social media user joked that Zhang did not know what a dragon looked like, while another remarked that the photo wasn’t a rumor, but “an IQ test.”
[via South China Morning Post, images via various sources]
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