Creepy clown sightings that have spooked the United States recently seem to have spread to Australia and New Zealand as well.
Social media sites have been flooded with numerous accounts of sighting scary clowns in several Australian cities on Sunday. Reuters reported that a woman in Brisbane told local media that she was chased by a clown holding a knife.
"The clown purge appears to be a copycat of incidents being seen in the USA recently," a Victoria police statement said, according to the Guardian.
Though the police did not reveal where the clowns have been sighted in Melbourne, they have warned miscreants that such antisocial behaviours will not be tolerated. Also according to the news portal, police have ordered an investigation into the matter.
In August 2016, the clown sightings started around Greenville, South Carolina, according to Reuters. The news agency reports that police received multiple reports of clowns lurking near Laundromats, standing silently by roadsides and trying to lure children into the woods with bags of cash or green laser lights.
Numerous videos and pictures are posted on social media of brightly-dressed clowns standing in the woods or scaring residents in US, Australia and New Zealand.
Some reports suggest that these incidents are either an elaborate hoax or a horror movie publicity stunt, but it is still unclear exactly what started this craze in US.
According to Reuters, police said a 22-year-old woman was assaulted early on 8 October by two men disguised as clowns In the New Zealand city of Hamilton.
"This was a very frightening experience for the young woman," added the New Zealand police in a statement.
In Australia's Northam city, as reported by The West Australia, police arrested a man who allegedly chased a group of young girls while dressed as a clown. Police said the culprit disguised as a clown and scared the girls near a shopping centre in Fitzgerald Street at about 9.30pm. He then chased them for 700m to the Northam Police Station on Gairdner Street.