Injection attacks: Police to check CCTV around mall to verify alarming posts
Authorities warn public to be responsible in posting online
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Incidents of alleged “injection attacks” in Cebu City over the past two weeks are now being looked into by the police.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Janette Rafter, deputy director for operations of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), told reporters that they will be checking the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage in areas around a mall where perpetrators allegedly prick unsuspecting passersby with a syringe.
As part of their efforts to verify the claims, Rafter said they would check the CCTV footage in the mall and other establishments in the area.
However, Rafter revealed that based on their initial investigation, there was no commotion captured in the area that could give a clue that a crime took place there.
She added that there were also no formal complaints lodged about an ‘injection attack’ in any of the police stations in the city.
Despite this, the police will not discount the possibility of these crimes, said Rafter.
“Initially, according niadtong niuna nga nagpost, murag iyaha ra pud tong gipangkuha kuha ba. Then iyang gipangcollate then mao to nga iyang gipost sa iyahang account. So mao na ang iyaha pung account. Pero again we are not saying pud nga wala gyud na siya no. That’s why we are conducting investigation,” she said.
Post owner traced
Rafter relayed that they were able to trace the person who made the original post last week which garnered a lot of attention and started a series of posts about similar alleged incidents.
She said they tried reaching out to the minor but found out that she had not attended her classes for two days.
“Nagcoordinate nami but for two days, wala pa ningsud ang bata but nacommunicate na sa management sa school nga mocontact sila sa amo within today. Para pud makuha nato ang side kadto nga nag-post together with the parents kay tungod menor de edad,” added Rafter.
Aside from the minor, they are also reaching out to other persons who posted about their alleged similar experiences online.
However, Rafter said that none of those that they have contacted has replied so far. She also disclosed that they are also coordinating with the anti-cybercrime group (ACG) to know the veracity of these stories.
While they continued their probe on injection attacks, Rafter assured the public that they were on top of the situation and had placed several police personnel in the area to increase monitoring.
The added police personnel are not just there to monitor the alleged injection attacks but also as a deterrent to mall crimes such as bag-slashing.
Rafter also reminded the public that there are elevated police posts in the area that they can approach in case they need assistance.
In the original post that has since gone viral, a netizen claimed that the alleged perpetrator was wearing a purple shirt and was standing by the entrance of a mall.
Despite there not being an official complaint, the police proceeded to the area to assess possible danger.
Rafter said that with the help of personnel from the Carbon Police Station, they found a man who fit the description and rescued him.
The man reportedly was mentally challenged.
However, according to Rafter, some witnesses in the area told police that the man had a habit of carrying either a ball pen or a barbecue stick to poke passersby.
During his rescue, the man, who is not from Cebu, was holding a ballpen.
The police official said they are now coordinating with the barangay captain to give the rescued individual the right intervention and to reunite him with his family.
Noting that the area is a busy street especially with the many students heading to school, Rafter said that they are also coordinating with nearby schools to immediately report any untoward incident to the police.
She also asked the public to let authorities know whenever they notice something irregular in their respective neighborhoods.
“We are also appealing sa publiko nga dili ta magpataka og post sa Facebook just for the sake of posting nga naa tay mabutang diha [nga] pauso ba…Let us also be responsible,” stated Rafter.
“Let us refrain from posting something nga will create panic or alarm sa atoang kadaghanan,” she added.
According to Rafter, individuals who will be found responsible for posting falsified information just to get attention and cause public alarm will face legal consequences.
Meanwhile, the shopping mall where the incident allegedly happened released a statement on their social media page about the issue.
In the post, the establishment said that they would also be reaching out to the individuals who posted about the alleged incident to verify.
They also assured the public that there are security personnel in the establishment who will make sure that persons carrying dangerous items will not be allowed entry. And sny i jection attack will be foiled. /rcg
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