A TV report by Hong Kong-raised journalist Cameron Tucker went viral after a teen carrying a suspicious-looking plant sprinted through his live broadcast. Tucker was in the middle of reporting about a cannabis raid by police in the English county of Kent for local news station KMTV.
The timing of what has been labelled “Cannabis-gate” could not have been sweeter as Tucker is seen in the video saying, “Little did their neighbours know in this quiet, pretty little corner in Kent countryside…” before gesturing to the cottages behind him.
It’s at this exact moment that the teen emerges from behind a house holding a leafy plant, appears to see the cameras filming him, and makes a run for it.
The former South China Morning Post Young Post Junior reporter maintained on-screen professionalism and turned back to the camera without acknowledging what had happened.
But when 24-year-old Tucker spoke to SCMP about what was going through his head at that moment, he said, “I saw his face as he went past – he genuinely looked petrified. I could see out the corner of my eye that he’d legged it around a public footpath and shot off into the countryside, I was like ‘Okay, that happened’.”
The viral clip has since been doing the rounds on major platforms such as the BBC Newsnight, Daily Mail, LadBible and Reddit, as well as reaching various media outlets across Europe. The original Facebook post has garnered over 240,000 views and collective media views has surpassed the millions.
It was even featured on popular American late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where the host described it on his “Behind the News” segment.
Some sceptics questioned whether the footage was staged but Tucker said it appeared to be 100 per cent genuine.
“There are a few people wondering whether it’s a setup. We’d love to have been able to write something like that, but you just can’t,” he said. “We don’t know if it’s a prank but we’ve launched an appeal on our programme. Please get in touch because we want the story to come full circle.”
“We toyed with the idea of even putting it out in the first place; we waited because we weren’t sure if there would be legal ramifications or if the police had to investigate anything,” said Tucker.
“The managing director and editor gave it the go ahead and it’s just snowballed from there. I felt very popular in the morning!”
Tucker and crew attempted to find the unidentified runner after the broadcast to see “if he was having a little giggle to himself” but there were no signs of his whereabouts.
Kent Police are aware of the entertaining footage but will not pursue any criminal charges.