YouTube kidnapping prank backfires; two people arrested

Screengrab of the video

Screengrab of the kidnapping prank video

 Muscat: Police in Oman have arrested two men after what turned out to be a prank kidnapping video incited outrage from thousands of people in the Gulf country.

In the video two masked men approached a vehicle with four children talking on the back seats.

Upon seeing the two men at a distance, one of the children said that they were robbers, prompting all eyes to follow them.

However, their curiosity turned into fear and screams when the two men got on the vehicle and drove away. They started calling out for their parents. However, the masked passenger shouted at them and order them to remain silent while the driver drove on.

The less than one-minute video went viral on social media in Oman, sparking outrage at how the children were subjected to a painful and harrowing experience as they believed they were being kidnapped.

The police launched an investigation and eventually arrested the two men.

‘Referring to the video circulated on social media about the theft of a vehicle and abduction of children by some masked men, the Criminal Investigations Department arrested two persons following intensive search operations,’ the police said in a statement.

The two men explained that they were trying to raise public awareness about the dangers of leaving children without supervision inside cars.

The police said legal proceedings were underway.

According to Times of Oman, one of the “kidnappers” is an Omani social media user.

He took the children who were his relatives out , promising to buy them sweets and ice-cream and telling them they would “take part in a wonderful prank.”

He left the children alone in the vehicle and returned with a friend, both covering their faces, to “kidnap” them and record the abduction on a prank video.

The video, posted on Instagram and YouTube last week, was harshly criticized and the man who posted it condemned for scaring innocent children and accused of emotional abuse.

The prankster responded to the backlash and accusations by making a video in which he explained he explained that the kidnapping was an act.

“I told the children that I would take them to the store, get them ice-cream, and that they would help us as part of a really nice prank,” he said.

“I would like to warn all parents from the bottom of my heart not to leave children alone in a vehicle. The children can mess with the car if they’re alone, might be harmed from the heat, or of course could be stolen away. Now that I have explained this, I’ll leave you with the clip to watch again. Let’s go!” he said.

His explanation was posted before the police took action against him.

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