Recent rumors that an “extremely venomous species of squid“ has been sighted along the beach on Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province in southern Vietnam are false, authorities say.
Last Wednesday, a Facebook account in Vietnam shared a photo of “a squid“ with spotted skin to warn residents and visitors to Phu Quoc of the “dangerous” species. But the photo seems to display an octopus, rather than a squid.
“You will die within 20 minutes of being bitten by this extremely dangerous squid,” the photo caption reads.
“If you consume this squid, even doctors can’t save your life,” it continues.
The photo went viral on social media, sparking fear among residents and tourists.
Mai Van Huynh, Party chief and chairman of Phu Quoc, has confirmed to the Vietnam News Agency that the rumors are false and that there is no such “venomous squid“ in Phu Quoc.
Phu Quoc authorities have tried to identify the creator of the fake photo but their efforts have been in vain, Huynh said.
Some local news sites have reported the false information without fact-checking, which hurts tourism on the famous resort island, he added.
The administration of Phu Quoc has requested support from provincial authorities in Kien Giang to rebut the ill-intentioned rumors and bring those behind them to light.
Phu Quoc, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is Vietnam’s largest island that welcomes around 2.5 million visitors yearly.
From March 2014, Vietnam has waived visas for all foreign visitors to Phu Quoc for a period of up to 30 days.