Student in scary clown prank: 'I'm sorry'
Student in scary clown prank says he was questioned by police over video
Student Joel Wong got more than he bargained for when he uploaded a video of himself dressed as a clown to scare passers-by at a park and an underpass.
The 19-year-old thought it would be a Halloween hoot. But the prank has backfired, with the police now investigating his hijinks.
They had advised him not to upload the video, but he defied them by putting it on YouTube on Sunday. It went viral and was slammed by netizens.
The next day, Mr Wong, who usually uploads travel video logs, took down the video of his prank and another featuring behind-the-scenes footage after being told to do so by the police.
In their place, he uploaded a six-minute video titled "I'm sorry" on Monday evening.
In the video, which had more than 10,000 views by last night, he said the police went to his home at 1pm on Monday and took him to Bedok Police Division Headquarters, where he and his friends who helped in the prank were questioned for six hours.
"I guess I got what I deserved. It was definitely a wrong move from me... I disrespected the police because they advised me not to upload it.
"I got what I deserved. I don't blame anyone. I blame myself," he said.
Mr Wong said he received many angry responses to the video.
"I guess I do understand where all the hate is coming from... It was stupid to do the prank in such a way that could have caused the people that I scared to have a heart attack," he said.
Expressing his regret in the description box of the video, he wrote: "We filmed the video extremely impromptu. I guess I just rushed into it and really did not consider the consequences.
"I was careful with how I executed the prank in the sense that I made sure no real (or fake) weapons or harmful objects were used, and that I kept a good distance from the people I scared.
"Of course, I missed the whole big picture - that I was still in fact scaring innocent people and causing a public nuisance... I wanted to make a viral video. I guess that was the only thing that I managed (but in all the wrong ways)."
When contacted via e-mail, Mr Wong declined to be interviewed because he had been advised to stay low and "keep quiet".
Social media consultant Belinda Ang told The New Paper: "Joel mentioned he wanted to make a 'viral video', so the likelihood of overnight attention and fame probably propelled his intention."
The director of thinkBIG Communications added that it is hard to predict the outcome of controversial videos.
She added that it is sometimes difficult to anticipate the reactions of netizens, and scary clowns could be a taboo subject in view of the controversial "killer clown" sightings worldwide. (See report, right.)
"The nature and motivation of the prank, whether it's for laughter or for a scare, plays a role in the emotions associated with the video," she said.
Creepy craze began in August
August, United States: In the state of South Carolina, the police receive reports of clowns standing at roadsides, trying to lure children into the woods with bags of money and green laser lights. Their motives are unclear, but it is believed to be a prank.
Oct 8, New Zealand: In the city of Hamilton, a 22-year-old woman walking home late at night is assaulted by two men dressed as clowns.
Oct 11, Britain: A 19-year-old is arrested for dressing up as a clown and wielding a chainsaw to scare people at Brunel University in London. The prankstersays it was a stunt for his YouTube channel.
Oct 12, Sweden: A group of men in clown outfits surround four 10-year-old children and threaten them with what is later found to be fake chainsaws.
Oct 16, Mexico: Five teenagers dressed as clowns are detained in the city of Mexicali after they used bats to frighten bystanders. Five other teens are detained in the city of Queretaro after police receive complaints about their "diabolical" clown costumes.
Oct 24, Austria: A 16-year-old girl twists her ankle when she falls down some stairs while running away from a man wearing a clown mask in a carpark in the state of Styria.
Mr Wong's two videos
The first video uploaded on YouTube on Sunday shows Mr Joel Wong dressed as a clown and scaring people in various parts of Singapore. It opens with the line: "Since its (sic) nearing Halloween, I decided to dress up as a clown and scare some Singaporeans."
Police officers, who responded to a call for assistance at Block 489C, Tampines Street 45, at 10.40pm on Saturday, spoke to Mr Wong.
Another video, which features behind-the-scenes footage, revealed that the pranks took place over three days last week.
Police investigations are ongoing.
THE NEW PAPER, YESTERDAY