'My friends are all dead': Viral Hong Kong movie hoax sparks police probe

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 July, 2013, 11:57am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 July, 2013, 3:11pm

A video showing a young woman lying on a floor crying, visibly in distress and fearful for her life, prompted a police investigaton after going viral on the internet at the weekend.

The video (above) was later revealed to be part of a guerilla marketing campaign for upcoming Hong Kong movie Seven Things to Do Before Death.

“I don’t know what to do. My friends are all dead … I am sorry, mother, I don’t know if I can see you again,” the girl, later identified as 23-year-old model Katie Hui Sum-yuet, can be heard saying in the self-recorded iPhone video.

A male “narrator” in the video says: “I picked up this iPhone 5 and wanted to sell it but then I found this video. I don’t know what I should do. Any advice, netizens?”

The video was posted onto YouTube on Saturday by a user named Chek Steven – later identified as the film’s director, surnamed Ho, The Sun newspaper reported on Monday. By Sunday afternoon, the video had amassed more than 120,000 views and was also uploaded onto Facebook and discussion forum GoldenHK.

One concerned viewer thought the video was a real call for help and notified the police who then traced the video, via an Internet Protocol (IP) address, to Hui’s residence in Wong Tai Sin.

She was brought to the police station for questioning along with Ho. Both were released after convincing police the video was just a promotional hoax for an upcoming film.

Hui posted on her Facebook account on Sunday morning: “Don’t have to worry, everyone. I’m not dead. I am totally safe. Will update you all on details later.” She said she was on holiday on the mainland and had no idea the video had been uploaded.

Internet users slammed Hui and the director for “going overboard with the joke”, "wasting police time" and “crying wolf”. 

One person joked in the video’s comment section on YouTube: “Here are seven things to do before death: don’t see the movie, don’t see the movie, don’t see the movie, don’t see the movie, don’t see the movie, don’t see the movie and don’t see the movie."