‘Killer clown’ craze now in Sweden as teen stabbed by masked assailant

© Vincent Kessler
Swedish police have launched a manhunt after a 19-year-old was stabbed by a man wearing a clown mask south of Goteborg on Thursday night. The attack is thought to be connected with the worldwide ‘killer clown’ craze tormenting communities this Halloween season.

The attacker, who wore a clown mask, blue jeans and a yellow jacket during the assault in Varberg, in the south west of the country, wounded the teen’s shoulder with a sharp object, according to local paper GP.

Although police dog units were dispatched overnight, the attacker still hasn’t been found.

There have been two similar cases reported in Sweden in recent weeks, where people dressed as clowns were seen outside schools scaring children.

“This is not a crime as such but very, very unpleasant,” police spokeswoman Ulla Brehm told GP. “It is not funny when people are being scared.”

The incidents “likely had spread via social media from the United States,” she added.

Asked to speculate on the motive for the Varberg attack, Brehm said: “We don't know what preceded this. It was not a robbery and I don't know if they had argued before. It's hard to say if this is something to do with this trend from the US, but there was a clown mask at the scene.”

Hundreds of incidents have been reported to police and local authorities across the UK in just the last few days, where the craze has also taken hold, including cases of masked clowns holding knives, chainsaws, hatchets and baseball bats.

Fancy dress shops in Briatain have now been advised not to sell clown costumes to people suspected of wanting to follow the fad, but as Halloween approaches more sightings are expected.

Childline, a UK call service for young people seeking advice and support, reported on Friday it had been contacted 120 times in just one week by children frightened by the clown craze.

A quarter of the calls came from children under 11, while more than a third were between 12 and 15. The majority came from Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham.

In a bid to quash the trend, UK police have threatened to arrest anyone caught causing masked mischief. Creating “alarm or distress” is punishable by the Public Order Act and carries a maximum £1,000 fine. This could rise to a jail term if a weapon is carried.

Dr. Adam Lynes, a criminology lecturer at Birmingham City University, told The Sun: “A lot of these people are copycats.”

“We saw similar behavior during the 2011 London riots, with people acting in extreme ways they normally wouldn’t. Putting on a creepy clown mask can have a similar effect, so there is the potential for incidents to spin out of control,” he explained.