US ‘spooky’ clown craze spreads

MELBOURNE: Sightings of creepy clowns that have spooked the United States appear to have sparked "copy-cat" acts in Australia and New Zealand, with police issuing stern warnings for would-be clowns.

Numerous sightings of clowns appeared on social media in the early hours of Sunday in several Australian cities.

The clown sightings started around Greenville, South Carolina, in August, when police received reports of clowns standing silently by roadsides, lurking near laundromats and trying to lure children into the woods with bags of cash and green laser lights.

It's unclear what started the craze, although some have suggested it may be part of a horror movie publicity stunt or an elaborate hoax.

Since then, videos and pictures have appeared on social media of clowns scaring residents in various US cities, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

Australian police have issued strong warnings to those dressing as clowns, saying they could be committing criminal acts or become victims if scared citizens attack them. – Reuters