A Brazilian judge has ordered mobile phone companies to indefinitely block access to WhatsApp because it won’t help out in a police investigation – the third such incident against the instant messaging application in eight months.

The Rio de Janeiro judge Daniela Barbosa ruled that access to the application should be blocked immediately. That is expected to happen once Brazil’s five mobile phone companies are notified.

In her decision, Barbosa said WhatsApp’s owner, Facebook, had shown “total disrespect for Brazilian laws”. Her decision said Facebook was repeatedly asked to intercept messages sent through the service to help in a criminal investigation in the city of Caxias, outside Rio.

WhatsApp’s CEO, Jan Koum, said the company was working to get the app running again.

“It’s shocking that less than two months after Brazilian people and lawmakers loudly rejected blocks of services like WhatsApp, history is repeating itself,” Koum said on his Facebook page.

In February, a judge from north-eastern state of Alagoas made a similar ruling in a separate investigation, but the order was overturned hours later.

Whatsapp was also briefly blocked in Decemberafter an order by a judge in São Paulo. Hours later, a separate judge lifted the restrictions on that grounds that “it does not seem reasonable that millions of users are affected” because of the company’s wrongdoing.

“In recent months, people from all across Brazilhave rejected judicial blocks of services like WhatsApp,” a company spokesman said.

“Indiscriminate steps like these threaten people’s ability to communicate, to run their businesses, and to live their lives. As we’ve said in the past, we cannot share information we don’t have access to. We hope to see this block lifted as soon as possible.”