Fake Photo Of Beaten Hong Kong Cop (Cough, Actor) Didn't Stump Twitter For A Second

An attempt to make the Hong Kong police force look better backfired epically on Wednesday after a top Hong Kong official posted a fake photo of a beaten cop on his Facebook page, Time reports. To be clear, he didn’t necessarily know the photo was a fake — but the social media world sure did. They quickly recognized the “policeman” as none other than an actor from TV’s Night Shift, a show about, er, zombie cops.

The demonstrations in Hong Kong — now in their third week — took a dramatic turn Wednesday, after a video surfaced showing a protestor being violently attacked by the police force. The film, caught by a TV news crew, quickly gained attention via social media, and threatened to reignite the protests which had seemed to be dying down.Later on Wednesday, Hong Kong officials responded with their own photo. Andrew Fung, media adviser to Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong’s leader, posted a picture on his Facebook page of a red-eyed policeman covered in blood, whom he said had been hurt in clashes with the protestors the night before. He wrote under the photo:

Everybody who uses violence is wrong. If the police get hurt, you should have sympathy. The idea of democracy includes love.

A nice sentiment, admittedly. The picture was quickly shared on social media, with police supporters using it as their HA! moment (see, protestors are violent, too!). But of course, it turned out not to be a policeman at all. Twitter users, always ahead of the game, almost immediately recognized the actor from the new HKTV drama series, Night Shift.

The actor was playing an undead police officer — hence the blood, the red eyes, and the grimace. And according to Time, by Wednesday, the TV network had posted a picture of the actor without his makeup, confirming that the "cop" was, in fact, a budding TV star.

The gaffe will surely not help the already tense situation in Hong Kong, where protestors are now feeling renewed rage over police brutality. Still, Leung is hoping for the best, telling reporters Thursday that his government would be ready to talk with the demonstration leaders as soon as next week. He said in a statement, quoted by the Washington Post:

As long as students or other sectors in Hong Kong are prepared to focus on this issue, yes we are ready, we are prepared to start the dialogue.

He'll probably want to make sure no more media stunts are attempted, in that case.

Image: Facebook