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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Tourist Wearing Fake Shark Fin NOT Harpooned 9 Times by Villagers in Thailand

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 29 May 2017 19:38:26 Z)

The well-known hoax website World News Daily Report is at it again, with a hoax article titled: "Thailand: Tourist wearing fake shark fin harpooned 9 times by villagers". The story starts out as follows:

Pattaya | An American tourist was almost killed this morning by local fishermen who mistook him for a bull shark.

27-year old David Smith and two of his friends were enjoying the first day of a two-week vacation in Thailand and had decided to spend some time at the beach.

Around 10:00 AM, Mr. Smith moved a few hundred meters away from his friends in order to put on a fake shark fin and pull a prank on them.

He started swimming towards the beach with only the fin emerging from the water, provoking an instant reaction from the local fishermen.

More than a dozen fishing boats filled with men armed with harpoons encircled the young man only 20 meters away from his friends.

They fired dozens of projectiles in his direction and speared him a total of nine times before they realized their mistake.

The gruesome picture that goes with the story is actually from a speedboating accident involving two Russian tourists that happened in February 2016.


The website World News Daily Report is a well known hoax website specialized in posting hoaxes and made up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about that even though you have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:

WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

As can be see in the Trendolizer graph at the end of this article it looks like the owners of the website have started boosting the reach of the story on Facebook because it looks like it has the potential to fool lots of people into clicking and spreading it even further. Don't fall for it, send people here to learn the truth!

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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