BY KALAHAN DENG
Australian police in Victoria have warned the public not to engage in “intimidating” behaviour after reports of clowns terrorising people in Melbourne.
Sightings of creepy clowns have sparked minor hysteria across the US since August.
People in clown masks have reportedly chased others and tried to lure children into woods.
Victoria police warned that such escapades would “not be tolerated”.
More on the marauding clowns:
In a statement on its Facebook page, which appears to have since been deleted, the force wrote: “Victoria Police are aware of people who are parading in public wearing clown masks.
“The clown purge appears to be a copycat of incidents being seen in the USA recently.
“Any intimidating and threatening as well as anti-social behaviours will not be tolerated and will be investigated by Police.”
Clowns have also been spotted in Sydney, with one pictured loitering outside a fast food restaurant in the Campbelltown area.
Australians have responded by setting up Facebook pages dedicated to “clown hunting”, as the sightings spread.
One theory has it that the upswing in “killer clown” antics is linked to the release of novelist Stephen King’s new film, It.
The plot involves a child-slaughtering being which takes the form of a clown called Pennywise to lure its prey.
But King has criticised the craze. This week, he tweeted: “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria – most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”