Authorities in South Africa have arrested a TikTok star who allegedly lied about being a doctor and used the social media platform to give medical advice and also sell medication. According to BBC, Matthew Lani, who had thousands of followers on the video-sharing social media platform, was arrested on Sunday night at the Helen Joseph Hospital in the city of Johannesburg.
Lani allegedly attempted to evade security by concealing his appearance. He was reportedly in a surgical mask and in possession of a stethoscope. Lani was ultimately apprehended by police after he attempted to flee through a bathroom window.
In a statement, the Gauteng province Department of Health said Lani usually went to the hospital he was arrested to “curate misleading content under the pretence that he was a qualified doctor.” His TikTok followers were nearly 300,000 before his account was taken down. He, however, created another account that has garnered over 50,000 followers.
Lani’s arrest comes after authorities launched a manhunt for him several weeks ago after doubts were raised about his qualifications. Lani had claimed he graduated from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg with a medical degree. But the university denied his claim while the Department of Education also said the suspect did not acquire his school-leaving certificate.
Lani also lied to authorities by claiming his real name was Dr Sanele Zingelwa. The actual Dr Zingelwa has since reported Lani for fraud. Lani’s arrest also adds up to several other suspects who have been apprehended for falsely claiming to be doctors. The country’s Ministry of Health says that authorities have made about 124 arrests of such nature.
As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, South African authorities similarly arrested a man swindling people of their monies “by misrepresenting himself as a doctor or a pharmacist.” The suspect, who went by the name Dr. Kingsley Chele or Dr KJ Ncube, was arrested following a manhunt after he escaped custody.
Police in a statement said the suspect’s modus operandi involved establishing contact with “health professionals on Facebook and engaging them, pretending to seek investors while he swindled them out of thousands of rands for projects that did not exist.”