A 45-year-old man, identified by his initials AK, was beaten up and apprehended by a mob who suspected that he had kidnapped a child, footage of which spread on social media. AK was then handed over to the police, despite the mob having zero evidence that he had actually kidnapped anybody.
“[AK] was suspected [by the mob] of carrying something, which turned out to be a cat. But then [the mob] suspected him [of child kidnapping] anyway because maybe they heard stories about kidnapping that have been spreading on social media lately,” Depok Police Chief Didik Sugiyarto told reporters today.
The police then questioned AK — who they say appears to be mentally challenged — and soon cleared him of any wrongdoing. The police said the mob turned AK in to authorities simply on the grounds that he was “acting strange”.
“We urge the public not to easily share information that’s not been verified. Because if the information is false it could lead to disturbances,” Didik said.
Police have arrested at least six people so far for sharing hoaxes about child kidnapping on social media, two of whom admitted to the police that they did it “for fun”.