No, a crying child on the road is not a trap used to rape and kill

A notice has resurfaced in South Africa, with more than 1,700 shares on Facebook, purporting to be an urgent notice from the South African Police Service advising people on how to help a crying child on the road. The police service say this is fake and there have been no reports of people being lured into gang rapes or murders this way.

The image from January 29, 2019, captioned, “shocking” has gained 1,703 shares since it was posted.

The poster, headlined “urgent message from SAPD”, claims to be protecting people from a “new way to gang rape women and girls, rob and kill men and boys”.

A screenshot taken on February 8, 2019 of the misleading post by Talita

The exact same notice can be found as a post here with over 1,000 shares as far back as February 10, 2013.

A screenshot taken on February 8, 2019 of the misleading post by Nonhlanhla Mkhondo

Another version of the notice can be seen here shared on December 18, 2018 with 27 retweets.

A screenshot taken on February 8, 2019 of the misleading notice

None of the listed numbers on the flyer for the lieutenant named in the poster were reachable, but SAPS national police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo confirmed that there have been no reports of a child being used in such a way.

"That is indeed fake," said Naidoo.“It is an old post that has resurfaced. No cases reported, we have not established its origin, this could have emerged anywhere, in any country.”

Posts with a similar narrative have been found as far back as 2005 according to Snopes.

Naidoo said that anyone concerned about a child in need should call the police.

Tendai Dube