Child abduction videos appear to be hoaxes - police

Video clips depicting child kidnappings and abductions, which have gone viral on social media, appear to be hoaxes, the South African Police Service said on Friday.

"The police have, since these postings started going viral, been trying to confirm if those depictions did or did not occur in any part of South Africa," said Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.

"To this day, there is no evidence that suggests, firstly, that these incidents happened in South Africa and, secondly, that these incidents are actually legitimate."

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Naidoo said that they would have expected relatives to come forward publicly to confirm that at least one of the videos was legitimate.

"Secondly, the police will never know that these incidents really happened if they are not officially reported. Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion we can draw from this is that these videos are hoaxes," he said.

The police feared that some videos might even be re-enactments, as they were "conveniently" shot in a way that did not disclose locations or other identifying details.

Naidoo asked members of the public to verify information before sharing something, because the posts caused panic and paranoia in communities.

'Urged to exercise vigilance'

Earlier this week, a video emerged of a 21-year-old who was almost kidnapped in Rembrandt Park, in Johannesburg.

Her shocked family told News24 that she managed to run away and that they reported the incident to police.

Sandringham police station commander Colonel Lindelani Ndlovu at that time said they were in the process of opening a case of attempted kidnapping.

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"We urge anyone with any information regarding the incident to please come forward," Ndlovu said.

Naidoo said the police did continuous awareness and educational talks on child safety.

"While the recent social media postings remain unconfirmed, it is a reality that children do go missing. Therefore, parents and guardians are urged to exercise vigilance at all times."

People could report crime to the police’s Crime Stop number, 08600 10111.