Former Hong Kong reporter in viral cannabis video admits he may have been pranked
‘We’d love to have been able to write something like that but you just can’t,’ journalist says
A television news report about a cannabis raid that went viral may have been a prank, the reporter who appears in the video said.
Journalist Cameron Tucker was reporting live for local station KMTV on the raid in Kent, England on Wednesday when a man carrying a potted plant ran through the camera shot.
“I saw his face as he went past – he genuinely looked petrified,” said Tucker, 24, a former South China Morning Post reporter who grew up in Hong Kong.
Tucker maintained on-screen professionalism and turned back to the camera without acknowledging the incident. Sceptics questioned whether the footage was staged, but Tucker said it was entirely unplanned.
“There are a few people wondering whether it’s a set-up. We’d love to have been able to write something like that but you just can’t,” he said.
It is unclear whether the man was carrying a cannabis plant.
Tucker and the television crew attempted to find the unidentified runner after the broadcast to see “if he was having a little giggle to himself,” but there were no signs of the man.
“We don’t know if it’s a prank but we’ve launched an appeal on our programme. Please get in touch because we want the story to come full circle,” Tucker said.
“We toyed with the idea of even putting it out in the first place. We waited because we weren’t sure if there would be legal ramifications or if the police had to investigate anything.
“The managing director and editor gave it the go-ahead and it’s just snowballed from there. I felt very popular in the morning!”
Neil and Yvette Hartley pleaded guilty to growing nearly 90 cannabis plants in their Kent home in August last year, but avoided jail time because they are parents. The lenient judge suspended their 22-month sentences for two years on Monday.