FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Sri Lankan Ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa On A Flight To Singapore?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A photo shared on Facebook purportedly shows Sri Lankan ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa on a flight from the Maldives to Singapore following his resignation. 

Verdict: False

The photo was taken in 2016 and shows Rajapaksa on a plane heading for Japan, not Singapore.

Fact Check: 

Rajapaksa resigned as Sri Lankan president on July 14 and fled the country after a series of anti-government protests, according to CNN. The country’s government has since cracked down on protesters who participated in the demonstrations that led to the ex-president’s resignation, The New York Times reported.

An image shared on Facebook claims to show Rajapaksa and some of his attendants on a flight from the Maldives to Singapore following his departure from office. “Sri Lankan president in exile Gotapaya Rajapaksha (sic) seen in the flight to singapore from Maldives,” reads the image’s caption.

However, the image predates the current crisis in Sri Lanka. A reverse image search reveals it was originally posted to Rajapaksa’s verified Facebook account in 2016 during a trip to Japan. “On way to #Nagoya with breathtaking view of Mount Fuji. Look forward to meeting Sri Lankan community in the evening – GR,” the post’s caption reads.

The photo can also be seen in a 2016 article published by the Sri Lankan news outlet the Colombo Telegraph. (RELATED: Did Time Magazine Feature Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa On Its Cover?)

This is not the first time misinformation about Rajapaksa has gone viral. Check Your Fact previously debunked a photo from April 2022 that allegedly showed a cover of Time Magazine featuring Rajapaksa.

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter

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