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Australia is dealing with potential return of the clown craze after IT release

It opens in New Zealand cinemas on September 7.

Online pranksters are threatening to unleash terrifying clowns on unsuspecting citizens, citing the new It film as inspiration for their devious plans.

Several Facebook pages dedicated to the "clown purge" craze have sprung up in the wake of the adaption of Stephen King's famous novel which has been a global box office success.

The pages - which have amassed thousands of likes over the past few days - are promising to terrify people in Melbourne and Sydney just in time for Hallowe'en.

Boo - they are out to get you. For a bit of fun after the success of the return of Pennywise the clown in It

"After the release of It, we're coming back bigger and better," one post on Clown Purge Sydney reads. "On Saturday we will be sending out 10 clowns to all different areas. We're not here to harm, only here for a laugh and a good time."

READ MORE
* Stephen King hits back at clown complaints
* Clowns not into It
* It offers only predictable things

The page says Sydneysiders can expect to see clowns in suburbs such as Blacktown, Penrish and Mount Druitt. A rival page called Clown Purge Australia says people should be prepared "for the best scare you've experienced in clown history".

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Scary clowns could overrun parts of Australia

While the pages could be a prank, hundreds of people are terrified thanks to numerous clown citings last year. Creepy clowns terrorised students, teachers and even McDonald's drive-thru customers in October, forcing authorities to issue warnings to those thinking of donning a clown mask and jumping out of the bushes. People who terrorise others while wearing a clown mask can face up to two years' jail.

The copycat craze has also been condemned by Australia's clown community, who say the costumed pranksters are giving the profession a bad name.

A spokesman for Roadshow Films said the Facebook pages have no official connection to the It movie and are not a publicity stunt.

"We have not planned or executed any activity with clowns for the It marketing campaign," he said.

The administrators of Clown Purge Australia and Clown Purge Sydney have been contacted for comment.

SMH

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