By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 11 OCTOBER 2018: The man who posted on social media how he saved 3 young girls from being kidnapped by people in a white van then warned parents about their children’s safety, is being charged by police for providing misleading information.
The man, 28 year old Liua Savai’inaea of Salailua, later re-enacted for TV News what happened at the road at Vaitele where he claimed the abduction took place last week.
He is being charged for providing wrong information which misled the police and misled the public through the media.
The charges were confirmed by Superintendent Sala’a Sale Moananu today in a first case of its kind and possibly Samoa’s first case of fake news.
Liua claimed on TV that he threw a rock that broke the rear window of the van that took the young girls away and prompted police to ask for the public’s help for information about a van with a broken rear window.
The police set up a special Unit to investigation the claim that came to nothing and especially when the accused could not identify the young victims as he claimed during the investigation.
Sala’a said Liua was arrested and charged yesterday after causing alarm especially at a time when children are spending time late at their churches rehearsing material for White Sunday.
Liua was released yesterday to await his appearance in Court.
Girl used kidnapped story to elope with boyfriend
The young girl supposedly picked up by a white van at one of the villages at Tuamasaga was with her boyfriend all the time her family and police were looking for her.
Her picture was posted on face book last week when she went missing.
“We took her in and she admitted to using the story to elope with her boyfriend,” explained Sala’a.
She too is under investigation and charges will follow.
Police will also direct investigation at people who posted comments and pictures on face book about a white van and creating unnecessary alarm and panic in the community.
Police have now issued a warning to social media users to mind what they post on their pages. They also specifically asked the TV stations and media outlets who sensationalised the reports to be more responsible and not cause unnecessary alarm.