Missing child e-mail a hoax

Police and child protection groups in Thessaloniki yesterday expressed concern about an electronic message regarding the supposed disappearance of a 4-year-old girl from a local school which was distributed to thousands of e-mail addresses but turned out to be a hoax. According to police, the message started circulating on the Internet last week, containing an appeal for help in tracing the whereabouts of the girl and featuring four photographs of the child, her full name and father’s name as well as other personal information. A few days later, bloggers had started adding further details to the original message, elaborating the fabrication, officers said. Police did not indicate who was behind the original message nor what their motive might have been. «The chief concern now is that the image and personal information of a minor is available on the Internet and cannot be erased,» a member of the northern city’s electronic crime squad said.