Pranknet In The Bunker
Audience dwindles as arrests, probes hit online hoax group
SEPTEMBER 16--Whither Pranknet?
Rocked by the arrest of two of its members and the opening of several criminal investigations, the online prank calling group's audience has evaporated as it has been forced to retreat from its usual fare of harassment, threats, and vandalism (as previously detailed here).
Operating from a bunker in Windsor, Ontario (actually the apartment he shares with his mom), Pranknet's boss Tariq Malik, 25, recently assured his dwindling following that he had purged the chat room of nosey reporters, though "nothing is going on in the room." He also noted that, "the past is the past," an apparent reference to the cessation of damaging prank calls.
Click here to listen to the beleaguered Malik speak about his mole hunt:
In another recent recording, Malik acknowledged Pranknet's involvement in calls that resulted in the setting off of fire alarms at U.S. hotels and fast food restaurants. Those calls were "not all me," he said, adding, "there's a bunch, there's like 10, 15 different people that do these kind of calls and they all congregate in the same place online."
Click here to listen to Malik's admission:
Malik, of course, has not always been under siege. When he launched his online outfit, Malik was a teenager who solicited prank targets from his audience of fellow high school students. As seen here, Malik attended W.F. Herman Secondary School in Windsor and posed for a particularly brutal 2001 yearbook photo. A webcam video from that period shows a young Malik (with those caterpillarian eyebrows) talking about a planned streaming video and audio project. (2 pages)