In a strange turn of events, an Australian model and fashion blogger working in Thailand as an English teacher was forced to turn himself in to the police after people on social media falsely identified him as the Bangkok bomber.
It all began after a Thai journalist, Prasitchai Kumbang, shared an image of Sunny Burns alongside the stills from CCTV footage of the bombing suspect on his Twitter account. The journalist compared the actor to the suspect in a yellow shirt, who was seen at the shrine in Bangkok before the explosions that killed at least 22 people and injured over 120.
The post soon went viral, prompting the 29-year-old to present himself to the police to clear his name.
“In social media they posted my immigration papers, they posted where I live, I had no other choice to go to police,” Burns told local media. “People were accusing me of being a terrorist and killing those 20 people, injuring over 100 people, I had no other choice. I thought, 'Oh my God this is a set up ... I’m going to be like Schapelle Corby, the terrorist version.'”
Luckily, the police allowed him to keep his cell phone with him during the interrogation, so he was able to document most of the extraordinary six hours he spent in the police station via social media updates.
Part of Burns' self-defense came through his fashion sense.
He even shared a selfie with police officers in the background.
The Bangkok police questioned Burns about his religion, his whereabouts at the time of the blast and his workplace details. However, they soon discovered a CCTV footage placing the accused model at a location far away from the site at the time of the blast, confirming Burns’ innocence.
Here is the CV TV footage of where I was yesterday when I just got back from the muscle lab gym in Huai Kwang and getting ready to teach my Native Speaker class. The Royal Police has this and I would like to thank them for looking after me and being so supportive. Thank you for all your support and wish I could give my mumma a big hug. I will be speaking with media tomorrow but please let me sleep now. It's not a nice feeling being called a terrorist but phom yung rak khun prated thai #prayforthailand
“I really need a protein shake and a big hug. This is all because of social media and some jealous hater spreading gossip,” the model said in a Facebook post, adding that he has forgiven everyone for pointing fingers and spreading the “horrible rumors.”