Vigilante Facebook group vows to keep exposing predators

The creators of a predator-exposing vigilante social media group are vowing to continue, despite Facebook's threats to shut them down.

The Facebook group 'New Zealand Creep Catchers' has only been going for a month and has filmed several encounters, but police are warning the group of the dangers of taking matters into their own hands.

They recently lured a man into a meeting by posing as a 15-year-old boy. 

While the 62-year-old didn't break the law and there's no proof he intends to, the page owners still shared the video with their 7000 followers in a form of trial-by-social-media.

'Hugh', one of the page's five contributors, told Newshub he believes they're in the right.

"The people that prey on our kids disgust me, so you know what, exposing them is the best thing we could possibly do".

He was shocked at how easy it is to lure people into a meeting by pretending to be children.

"A lot of them want our numbers straight away, some of them would like to talk, but nearly all of them meet up on the same night, as soon as they can."

Although the 'Creep Catchers' have only been going a month, 'Hugh' is surprised at the page's popularity.

"If more of these creeps are less willing to use the sites and go on social media to meet kids, we're happy. 

"If we stop releasing videos, we're happy - that means we can't find anyone and we've done a good job."

But the group has earned no praise from police who work in child exploitation. They're aware of the group and strongly discourage people taking matters into their own hands.

Police also say the power of social media could derail their own criminal investigations against online offenders.

"We put up one post and we're getting hundreds of replies," says 'Hugh'. "The police are doing a great job - I think we're just an addition."

'Hugh', one of the 'Creep Catchers', says the group is not guilty of defamation.
'Hugh', one of the 'Creep Catchers', says the group is not guilty of defamation. Photo credit: Newshub.

He denies that the group is defaming people by publishing their images and names to the page.

"They've defamed themselves. If anything's happened, they've done it to themselves," he says. 

"We didn't force them into anything, we tell them they can leave."

But how much longer the 'Creep Catchers' will be able to post these confrontations is unknown, with Facebook threatening to close them down.

"I suppose if they shut us down, we'll just reupload and reupload and reupload," says 'Hugh'. "We'll just continue."

He says the group's results are fuelling its determination to keep going.

"The things that we've seen, that we haven't released, the things that some people will say they want to do or are willing to do would anger a lot of people."

The 'Creep Catchers' are making no excuses for luring and exposing their online prey, even if they haven't committed a crime.

Newshub.

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