‘Clown face’ gang hoax causes panic in region.jpg

‘Clown face’ gang hoax causes panic in region

By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]

Concerns among readers over text messages and emails warning people about a violent gang operating in the region have led the Algarve Resident to contact the authorities for more information.

Readers, who have asked not to be named, told the Algarve Resident that they had received or seen text messages and emails warning them about the ‘clown face gang’, or gang da cara do palhaço, who are attacking and disfiguring people.

The messages, sent in Portuguese, warn of a gang who target people mainly in Faro and Olhão, asking the victims to choose between “rape, death or a clown mouth”, the latter meaning being cut from ear to ear.

A spokesman from Faro PSP police told the Algarve Resident on Tuesday: “This is all a hoax, our police station here is like a circus at the moment with parents and teachers constantly calling us because of fears that their children may be attacked or disfigured.” The spokesman added that no such occurrences have been registered with any of the regional hospitals or authorities.

Meanwhile, Faro PSP have confirmed that three groups of youths involved in criminal activities in Faro have been identified.

“There are three groups in the city, made up of six to 10 individuals, the majority minors, who are involved in criminal activities. The ringleader is already under arrest having been detained by the police seven times before,” said Faro PSP commander Victor Rodrigues. He added that the remaining individuals have been identified and that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute them in court, with some facing prison sentences.

All of the youths identified are boys, mostly of Portuguese nationality, and currently not attending school.

According to a spokesman from the PSP, these youths carry out violent criminal acts against people and property to gain points to rise within the gang’s hierarchy.

“We believe this behaviour is inspired by the US video game Grand Theft Auto,” said the spokesman.

Do you have a view on this story? Email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]