A rising TikTok star has been arrested in South Africa for fraud, after falsely claiming to be a doctor and using a Johannesburg hospital to “curate misleading content,” according to official statements.
Matthew Lani, a rising South African TikTok star with a focus on medical content, was arrested on Sunday night after trying to enter a hospital in Johannesburg under false pretenses.
He was caught entering the Helen Joseph Hospital without authorization, wearing a stethoscope and surgical mask as a makeshift disguise, and later arrested.
While in custody Lani attempted to jump out of a bathroom window to escape custody but was quickly apprehended and retained for the second time.
Arrested at the Entrance
An official statement has been made by the Gauteng province Department of Health, confirming that Lani had been arrested at the main entrance of the hospital.
Using the Hospital for “Work”
The statement added that he had twice used the hospital and its resources for his Tiktok page, to “curate misleading content under the pretense that he was a qualified doctor”.
According to the BBC, upon being arrested, Lani told police his name was Dr Sanele Zingelwa and claimed to be a second-year medical intern at the Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital.
Mr Zingelwe, who is a real person, has chosen to file charges against Lani for fraud.
Lani also claimed to have a medical degree from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, a claim which was refuted by the university.
High School Drop Out
Despite all of his claims to the contrary, South Africa’s Department of Education has confirmed that Lani did not even achieve a school-leaver certificate.
Dodgy Content Creator
Under the name Dr. Matthew, he has been giving unqualified medical advice as well as selling medication to followers on TikTok for months.
Thousands of Followers
He originally had over 300,000 followers before his main account was suspended in early October.
He then opened a new account which garnered more than 50,000 followers in a few days.
Sharing “Proof” on TikTok
In his videos, Lani told his followers that he was a qualified physician.
He posted footage of himself wearing a surgical mask and a face shield on different occasions, both in front of what was supposedly a hospital staff locker.
Johannesburg police had been searching for Lani for weeks following the deactivation of his account after questions began to arise about his self-proclaimed qualifications.
A Warning Blunder
According to the South African publication Independent Online, suspicions about his medical qualifications were raised when he posted a video about the risks of drinking alcohol.
When talking about pancreatic cancer, he used the word “pantric.”
Not the First, Not the Last
Bizarrely, Lani is far from the first person to be arrested for impersonating a doctor in South Africa. The Ministry of Health has reported 124 similar arrests in the last three years.
Outside of public statements, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department and Gauteng Department of Health have not provided any further comments on the incident.
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