Earlier in January, a post about an attempted kidnapping at a Malaysian attraction located in Johor Bahru made rounds on Facebook. The post claimed that a 6-year-old child was drugged after he went missing at the theme park.
Though the post did not specify which theme park it was, Legoland Malaysia decided to debunk the rumour after receiving a number of calls from concerned visitors regarding the case.
According to the post published by a Singaporean user named Daniel Boey, a woman was queuing up for food when she “took her eyes off her 6-year-old son for a moment”. When she realised her son was missing, she immediately alerted the staff and they closed down the all exits in the area.
The staff then conducted a wide search and found the boy a few hours later, but the woman was shocked to find that her son’s appearance was altered.
The Facebook post read:
What was horrifying is that her son has been shaved botak, changed his clothes and shoes, and was placed in a stroller being pushed out of the place. The kid was found to be in a drowsy state, believed to be given something to smell to knock him out.
The post, which had over 17,000 shares on Facebook, was later proven to be untrue as Mark Germyn, divisional director of Legoland Malaysia Resort’s executive office, told The Straits Times that it was just a hoax. He added that “no such incident had happened in any of the 6 Legolands in the world”.
As Legoland Malaysia is popular with Singaporean families who make up about a third of the visitorship, Germyn reassured the visitors by stating that the entire park was safe and under surveillance. Despite it spanning more than 307,500 sq m (the size of 5 football fields) and having thousands of visitors, there are surveillance cameras everywhere, as well as park rangers and plainclothes security officers patrolling.
We pride ourselves as being a safe and secure environment for our guests to be in… We take such matters extremely seriously. It’s very hard to control what gets shared on social media and this hoax has come up consistently and caused unnecessary concern for parents.
He added that a police booth has been set up near the entrance of the theme park. The Straits Times also said that police offers were seen patrolling when they visited the park last week.
Legoland said they have filed a report with the Malaysian police and reported the matter to Facebook when the post first surfaced in 2012. Inspector Wong Chee Hoong, officer in charge of Anjung Police Station in Johor, said, “The Facebook post is bogus and there have been no kidnapping cases or such reports in Legoland Malaysia Resort”.
Boey did not respond to The Straits Time’s request for comment on the story.
Source: The Straits Times.