An expert on suicide prevention and research has urged caution over a recent spate of internet rumours concerning unnatural deaths.

The associate dean of the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Social Sciences, Paul Yip, warned people to avoid sharing unverified information.

Professor Yip pointed out that all unnatural deaths have to be investigated by the police and the Coroner’s Court.

“Usually I think this process takes about six months or even longer. I think they will collect all the evidence from the police, from the Hospital Authority, and then they will come up with a verdict,” he said.

“So whatever we are receiving on social media now is far from conclusive; it is not complete and sometimes it is also not based on facts.

“So our advice, I think we have to be very careful about the news on the social media, and also if we are trying to post or re-post the news then we have to be very careful as well, because we do not wan to cause this panic feeling among the community.”