In Holland, a suspected paedophile died last month after he was surprised by a gang of teenage vigilantes as he tried to meet a boy for sex.
Now Dutch police are calling for an end to “paedophile hunting” after the 73-year-old retired teacher was beaten up by the teenagers and died of his injuries.
He was lured into having sexual contact with a minor while in a gay chatroom, according to a BBC report.
Authorities said he was aware the boy was underage before he met him.
Seven teenagers were arrested, six of them under the age of 18, and two have been held in custody.
The teenagers had come up with the idea of hunting for paedophiles after reading stories of other groups hunting for child abusers online and then luring them into meeting their victims where the gang would surprise and accuse them and then often turn them over to the police.
A lawyer for the teenagers told local website De Gelderlander that the idea of hunting paedophiles “happened out of boredom in this corona time”. He argued that the teenagers had only wished to confront the man and had no premeditated plan to attack him.
The former teacher arrived at an agreed meeting point on Oct 28 and was then followed as he made his way home. He was beaten up by the group of boys and died later in hospital.
Since July, around 250 incidents have been recorded of people being forced off the road, assaulted, threatened and publicly shamed on the internet, because they were suspected of being paedophiles.
Facebook groups have sprung up across the Netherlands, with names like pedohuntnl, and some have attracted thousands of members.
In the US, a former Democrat Massachusetts state representative candidate was caught on camera attempting to meet up with an underage boy by a group of paedophile hunters .
The man allegedly attempted to meet the boy – who he knew was only 14 – for sex. Instead of meeting the boy, however, the former politician was confronted by paedophile hunters from the group Predator Poachers of Massachusetts.
The group does “Catch A Predator” stings and then posts them on YouTube. They have ensnared a number of Massachusetts paedophiles, publicly shaming them and taking them off the streets according to US media sources.
Earlier in the year, Predator Poachers of Massachusetts caught a police chief attempting to meet an underage boy for sex.