TikTok Kia Challenge May Have Caused the Death of Four Teens in Buffalo

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Police are concerned about a so-called “Kia Challenge” on TikTok, the popular social media site.

Challenges encourage kids, teens and often adults to do all kinds of crazy things, like strangling themselves, and in the case of the “Kia Challenge,” to steal Kia (and also Hyundai) vehicles.

Investigation into a car crash in Buffalo, New York that killed four teenagers and injured two on October 24, has police suspecting the TikTok challenge as the culprit.

Four teens lost their lives in the crash – Marcus Webster, 19, Swazine Swindle, 17, Kevin Payne, 16, and Ahjanae Harper, 14. The driver, a male who is 16-years-old, survived along with a 14-year-old female passenger, and were reportedly not seriously injured. 

The vehicle was stolen. The driver has been charged, and will face the judge in court this month.

The Kia challenge first popped up in July on TikTok with videos that show car thieves hot-wiring car ignitions and stealing Kia and Hyundai vehicles. Those videos have since been taken down, but the challenge still appears to be popular and referenced in several posts and videos. 

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia spoke at a press conference and referred to these videos as the possible cause of the  Buffalo accident.

A search on TikTok for “Kia Challenge,” or similar hashtags, reveals thousands of people who claim to have been victims of the challenge, or who are talking about it and posting videos. 

The hashtags  #KiaBoys and #KiaBoyz both have over 25 million views, proving that the topic is very popular. 

Some videos show people stealing cars.

Police departments across the country most probably have been alerted to the existence of a car-theft challenge on social media, and are keeping it in mind.

At the end of August, the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted that Kia and Hyundai thefts had increased significantly over the past year, and referred to the TikTok challenge as an alarming influence on teenagers. 

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