Amy Hamilton Missing Child Hoax
Missing person poster circulating via social media claims that 6-year-old Amy Hamilton is missing from the Croydon area of London and is believed to have been kidnapped by an "Asian grooming gang".
© Depositphotos.com/ fuzzbones
The claims in the message are lies. There is no child by that name missing in the London area or anywhere else in the UK. The image used in the poster is a painting, not a photograph, and it was stolen from a Flickr page spotlighting the work of artist Anita Stanhope. The phone number in the message belongs to a UK insurance company. This hoax was created by a far-right organization known as "Britons against Left-wing Extremism" who use a troll blog and social media feeds called "The Daily Bale" to perpetrate politically motivated lies. The hoax is designed to further that organization's twisted and racist world-view.
Transcript of poster text:
IT IS BELIEVED THAT AMY HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY AN ASIAN
GROOMING GANG. She's 6 years old and was last seen in the
croyden area of london wearing a pink top and blue jeans. Please
SHARE this so we can find here. 1 share makes a difference.
IF YOU KNOW WHERE AMY IS OR HAVE ANY INFORMATION
THAT CAN HELP THE INVESTIGATION, PLEASE RING
[number removed] DAILY BALE INVESTIGATIONS LTD
According to a missing person poster that has been widely shared via social media, 6-year-old Amy Hamilton from the Croydon area of London has been kidnapped by an "Asian grooming gang". The poster features a picture of a blond, blue-eyed child and asks that people call a phone number listed on the poster if they know where Amy is or have any information about the case. The phone number supposedly belongs to an organization called "Daily Bale Investigations Ltd".
However, the claims in the message are lies. No child named Amy Hamilton is missing from the London region or anywhere else in the UK. There are no credible news or police reports about a kidnapping case involving a child of that name.
Moreover, the image of "Amy" used on the poster is not a photograph at all by rather a painting by talented portrait artist Anita Stanhope. The image is included in a portfolio of the artist's work featured on a Flickr group
and includes the following caption:
A Flickr member from South Africa asked me to paint her grandchildren. This is one of the girls.
This disgraceful hoax is the work of a debased far-right organization that calls itself "Britons against Left-wing Extremism" (Bale) and perpetrates its heinous lies via a blog called the Daily Bale and associated social media feeds.
Searches using the phone number included on the poster reveal that it belongs to a UK based insurance agency
. The number was featured in a popular advertising campaign run by the company.
Clearly, the Daily Bale simply invented the missing person report and stole a picture to use in the poster from another source as a means of furthering it sickening racist agenda.
The perpetrators of the hoax even brag via Twitter
about how many times their false poster has been shared.
This is the second time in as many months that The Daily Bale has used a stolen image of a child to further its aims. In September 2013, it perpetrated a hoax
that falsely claimed that a baby had been punched and thrown against a wall by "an Asian youth".
The creators of these hoaxes are so debased and unethical that they are willing to fabricate stories and steal and misuse unrelated images of children just to foster their own twisted worldview.
Even some of Britain's other rightist organizations have warned their followers not to believe information posted by the Daily Bale. In an August 2013 Facebook post, The British Patriots Society noted:
Please be aware that the "Daily Bale" page and website is a troll page, and their stories are fabricated. Before you post anything it's always worthwhile to check it out yourself just to make sure it's true but I doubt very much that you'll find any of the stories from the Daily Bale that are true!
Hoaxes such as these are far from harmless. They tie up the precious resources of police and important organisations that publish real information about missing children. And they make it less likely that genuine missing person alerts will be taken seriously by the Internet community.
Moreover, their continued circulation may adversely impact on the lives of children and families depicted in these hoax messages. Even though the image used in this hoax is a painting, the young subject of the work could still be easily identified.
A healthy democracy has room for many voices. However, those behind the Daily Bale have lost every shred of credibility. An organization that is willing to perpetrate outright lies - and misuse images of innocent children - as a tactic for fostering a political agenda is beneath contempt.
Last updated: October 23, 2013
First published: October 23, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
Research by Steve Williamson, Brett Christensen