Did You Know
Did You Know
BARCELONA: A YouTube personality in Spain was sentenced to 15 months’ jail and fined €20,000 (US$22,500) on Friday (May 31) for posting an online video in which he tricked a homeless man into eating toothpaste-filled cookies.
Kanghua Ren, also known as ReSet, was found guilty of an offence against moral integrity after the video of his prank went viral and sparked outrage.
However, Ren will likely not serve any jail time as sentences of up to two years are generally suspended in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes.
Ren was also ordered to close down his YouTube channels for five years but as of Tuesday, his two YouTube channels, which respectively have more than 1.2 million and 260,000 followers, were still online.
Ren had carried out the prank in 2017 after he was “challenged” by one of his followers to replace the cream filling of an Oreo cookie with toothpaste.
The YouTuber, who was 19 at the time, then filmed himself removing cream from inside the Oreo before replacing it with toothpaste.
He then took to the streets of Barcelona and gave the cookies to a Romanian beggar along with €20.
"Maybe I went a little far, but let's look at the positive side, it will help him clean his teeth, I don't think he has often brushed his teeth since he became poor," Ren told his followers, according to a court document.
The homeless man later felt sick and vomited several minutes after eating the cookies, and said he feared for his life as he did not know what was in the cookie or who Ren was, said a Daily Mail report.
The homeless man later told Spanish newspaper El Pais that he had “never been treated so poorly while living on the street”.
The video sparked an outcry, so Ren posted a new one in which he went back to see the man and gave him another €20.
"If I had done this with a normal person, no-one would have said a thing, but as he is a beggar people are complaining," he said in a message accompanying the video, according to the court document.
Among the 200 most influential Spanish-speaking personalities on YouTube at the time, he then tried to stop the victim making a complaint in exchange for €300, police said.
Police added he targeted other vulnerable people in other videos on his channel, where he earns money through advertising.