Fake News: Chinese Restaurant Owner NOT Arrested Over Cat in Window Doing Nazi Salute

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Chinese Restaurant Owner NOT Arrested Over Cat in Window Doing Nazi Salute

Was Keith Wu, the owner of Chinese restaurant Foo Ming Palce in Southend On Sea, Essex, arrested for having a statue of a cat in his restaurant window that seemingly made a Nazi salute? Of course not, the story was satire about a recent real court case making waves in Britain.

The story was published on March 23, 2018 by the Southend News Network and was titled "Chinese restaurant owner ARRESTED over cat in window doing Nazi salute" (archived here). It opened:

A Chinese restaurant owner from Southend On Sea in Essex has been arrested after a model cat was spotted in his window giving a Nazi salute repeatedly.

Police were called to Foo Ming Palace on Fairfax Drive earlier today, and the proprietor Keith Wu was taken into custody.

Witnesses described seeing a 40-strong riot team enter the premises with stun grenades and a tank.

According to local residents, the cat had been in place for over a year without complaints.

The story was meant as satire about the recent conviction of a Youtube comedian who goes by the nickname "Count Dankula" and who was recently convicted in the U.K. for teaching his girlfriends pet dog to make a Nazi salute in a controversial court case that touched on the limits on freedom of speech:

YouTuber found guilty of hate crime for teaching pet pug 'Nazi salute'

A YouTuber who taught his girlfriend's pet dog to give Nazi salutes in response to phrases such as "Sieg Heil" and "gas the Jews" has been found guilty of a hate crime. Mark Meechan, of Coatbridge in Lanarkshire, was found guilty of communicating a "grossly offensive" video in a Scottish court on Tuesday.

It remains to be seen if the Southend News Network will now also be convicted of making "grossly offensive" humor for publishing this story.

The Southend News Network is a satirical site pretending to be a news organisation by the English coast in Southend. They have a disclaimer on their about page that reads (in part):

Southend News Network was originally started in October 2015 with no real aims or objectives in mind other than to add a satirical/spoof-like touch to issues that people are passionate about in Southend On Sea. Above all else, SNN is all about having the occasional 'dig' at the powers that be, as well a slightly bigger and more frequent 'dig' at certain elements of local media!

Several of their stories have been mistaken for real news in the past and the site was recognized by the local authorities as an "official news outlet".

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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