Prankster caught out in court
Magistrate hears YouTube kidnapping prank wasted police time
SHANE Hung thought he was only participating in a harmless YouTube prank that would delight viewers on the Internet.
What he did not expect was to be charged with false representation causing a police investigation.
Hung pleaded guilty to the charge in the Gayndah Magistrates Court on July 14.
Police prosecutor Pepe Gangemi said three people were involved in the prank.
“What happened was that at about 3.30am on October 21 2015, (Hung) pulled up at the 7/11 on Bribie Island,” Mr Gangemi said.
“A female got out of the boot, ran away and was pursued by the defendant (and another male).
“(The other male) brought her back and put her in the boot.
“A witness saw that and reported it to the police, who didn’t know it was a prank.”
Mr Gangemi said the subsequent police investigation cost $3202.68.
Defence lawyer John Willett said the charge against Hung was one not often seen before the court.
“My client is only a party to it, but he was the driver ... and went along with the other man’s idea of staging a prank,” MrWillett said.
Magistrate Andrew Hackett originally questioned the validity of the charges.
“I’m concerned there may not be offence and this offence may not check out as there was no direct representation to police,” Mr Hackett said.
“If he turned up to the police station and pretended to hit her and blood came out that would be representation.”
Mr Hackett then consulted with the Act and could not find any specific mentions that the representation had to be to police.
“Unless there is a case of representation that says it must be to police...I’ll accept the charges,” he said.
Mr Hackett said this case showed how dangerous a prank could be.
“Imagine if the police officer rolled their car off the road trying to save the girl,” Mr Hackett said.
“There are consequences for your actions and things can go badly for a little fun.
“That’s the problem with the internet and YouTube; people can suspend common sense for a prank.”
Mr Hackett fined Hung $800 and ordered him to also pay $1067.56 compensation, a third of the police investigation cost.
“You should have exercised more common sense,” Mr Hackett said.
“Listen to the voice in your head next time that says that may not be a good idea. This has cost you $1900 for a bit of fun.”
A conviction was recorded.