Social Media Sleuths Wrongly Identify Aussie Actor As Bangkok Bomber

Published on 19th August 2015 by Stickboy BKK

Social Media Sleuths Wrongly Identify Aussie Actor As Bangkok Bomber

An Australian actor was held and questioned by Thai police for around six hours on Tuesday after social media sleuths wrongly identified him as the Bangkok bomber.

Sunny Burns, who is little known in Australia but has shot a film in Thailand, had his photo widely shared by Facebook, Twitter & Line users saying he was the suspect authorities were hunting for after screenshots of a man in a yellow t-shirt believed to be responsible for planting the deadly bomb at the Erawan Shrine in downtown Bangkok were released by police.

When Mr Burns realised what was happening online and seen he was being accused of being a killer, he handed himself into police to clear his name.

“In social media they posted my immigration papers, they posted where I live, I had no other choice to go to police,” he told told Channel Seven’s Sunrise this morning.

“People were accusing me of being a terrorist and killing those 20 people, injuring over 100 people, I had no other choice.”

He told reporters police asked about his religion, where he had been at the time of the attack and where in Australia he was from. He said he was treated very well and posted to his IG account, “I forgive everyone who spread those horrible rumours about me. I love this country and let’s fight together. Let’s find this bomber. I’m not a terrorist but I’m a ting tong actor”.

frenchman arrested airport

The Aussie actor wasn’t the only case of mistaken identity yesterday. A young Frenchman, pictured above, was detained and questioned by police on Tuesday evening at Suvanbhumi Airport when staff at British Airways check-in rejected his passport as it was wet.

Louis Delapalme had his photo shared on social media by what appeared to be a member of immigration staff when tourist police, who had stepped in to assist him get new documents, noticed the injury on her arm and thought he looked like the suspect in the yellow t-shirt.

Of course, social media users were soon pointing the finger saying it was “definitely him” as the man in the photo appeared to have an injury to his left forearm which was said by commenters to be a burn which turned out to be a snake bite.

The Frenchman was released a short time later with a smile and a handshake when investigators eliminated him from their inquiries.

There is no doubting that social media is a great tool for helping track down and identifying criminals and terrorists but with the good comes the bad. Too many people, including some well-known users, are far too quick to share now, confirm later and before you know it, the internet is awash with false and misleading information.

Pol Col O-larn Suekkasen made a statement saying those posting false information relating to the Bangkok bombing face possible 5 year jail terms.

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