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S’pore Chinese newspapers reported extensively on black Mercedes woman, but avoided doxxing her

It's amazing what Google and the hive mind can find.

Zhangxin Zheng |Belmont Lay | September 11, 04:59 am

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Two Chinese newspapers in Singapore had a field day reporting on the woman caught on video driving her black Mercedes against the flow of traffic in Chinatown.

Not only did the two Chinese newspapers managed to report on details about the woman’s career and place of residence, they even managed to publish photos of her supposedly culled from her now-defunct Instagram account — well within the limits of the law.

This is given that doxxing a person in Singapore is no longer legal, but the Chinese newspapers were careful in omitting certain details that would have cut too close for comfort.

Here’s how they did it.

What did the Chinese newspapers report about?

Shin Min Daily News and Lianhe Zaobao appeared to have combined forces for their reporting on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.

They appeared to have culled information about the woman based on the initial video of her driving her black Mercedes against the flow of traffic in Chinatown, and relied on information online surfaced by Internet sleuths — presumably gathered from forums and social media.

This was all then supplemented with on-the-ground reporting, where reporters went out to specifically look for the woman.

From there, the Chinese papers assembled their profile, as they relied on the woman’s Instagram account photos for publication, while not doxxing her by not revealing her name, identifying features, and exact place of employment and residence.

The video featuring the woman driving against traffic along Upper Cross Street blew up online on Sunday, Sept. 8.

This was the amount of reporting a day later on Sept. 9:

What was a crucial piece of information that likely helped pinpoint the woman’s identity?

The Singapore police had revealed that a 32-year-old woman was arrested and assisting with investigations.

Her age was a crucial piece of information that could be triangulated with other details, resulting in a much thinner margin of error.

How did the Chinese press address the woman?

In place of the woman’s real name, the Chinese press adopted a moniker and labelled her as “Hot fiery woman”.

What else did the Chinese press find out about the woman?

Wanbao reported that the woman is a high-flying head honcho in a global recruitment company.

The Chinese press even mentioned that she was interviewed by the media before — a big hint that footage of the woman during the interview can be located as a video online.

Based on what was seen in that interview, the woman is described to be professional, graceful and able to speak in fluent English while replying to queries, which was a stark contrast compared to the woman in the video who was cussing in Hokkien in an uncouth manner.

Was any personal details remotely revealed?

The report did mention that online sleuths found out that the woman graduated from university in 2011 before joining the company, where she rose up the ranks quickly within six years.

The woman’s profile on the company has since been taken down.

Wanbao reached out to the company, but did not receive a reply before going to print.

What was the most intrusive piece of information revealed?

This would be information pertaining to where the woman lives with her husband.

The area was named, but we’re leaving that detail out.

The Chinese press reported that detail as coming from a netizen.

It was also reported that the woman had not been seen since Saturday.

The incident occurred on Friday.

The reporter even visited the area on Monday morning, and did not spot any black Mercedes.

No one responded from the unit the woman supposedly stays at.

The reporter then spoke to the woman’s neighbour, who revealed that the woman and her husband have been living in the unit for around four years and have not seen the couple for the past few days.

The reporter also visited the woman’s office that morning, but did not see her.

Was any other information revealed about the black Mercedes?

Wanbao reported the claims made by online commenters: The black Mercedes was likely a 29th birthday present the woman bought for herself in 2016.

This assumption was based on a photo of her posing with the same model of Mercedes three years ago.

What other information can be gleaned from the Chinatown video?

Wanbao wrote that eagle-eyed netizens noticed that the white bodycon dress the woman was wearing was a branded item that cost more than S$600.

Social media shut down after witchhunt

The woman’s social media accounts have been shut down or privatised after they were sought out by netizens.

According to the Chinese press reporter’s understanding, the woman changed her Instagram handle, and then privatised her account after the incident happened.

Shortly after that, a supposedly copycat account was created that appeared to be impersonating the woman’s original account and even put up several of her photos, alongside provocative comments that appeared to be taunting the public.

Did the woman respond to any attempts to reach her?

The reporter tried contacting the woman via her social media accounts and work email, but did not receive any response.

Background

A 32-year-old woman was arrested for dangerous driving along Upper Cross Street in Chinatown.

The incident took place on Friday, Sept. 6, at about 10.20pm.

The woman was seen getting out of her black Mercedes and shouting profanities in Hokkien at a passer-by who told her not to drive up the walkway.

The woman then sped away against the flow of traffic.

Utterly bizarre video of woman driving Mercedes against traffic in Chinatown after cussing at passerby

Driving licence of woman who drove Mercedes against traffic in Chinatown suspended

Top photo collage from SGRV’s Facebook and Sharon Tan’s Facebook

 

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About Zhangxin Zheng

Zhangxin’s favourite pastime is singing Mulan’s soundtrack in the mangrove forests. She hopes to perfect the art of napping in a hammock in the mangroves without being drowned by rising sea levels.

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