Suicide foiled after tip-off from US

Kathmandu, February 19

Facebook raised the flag on time to foil a suspected suicide attempt in Nepal.

A 29-year-old man from Kathmandu had gone live on the social media last afternoon brandishing a kitchen knife, possibly to take his own life.

Facebook, which screens posts on its platform to detect suicidal attempts, immediately informed the Cyber Unit of Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police. The e-mail sent by Facebook Headquarters in the US at around 3:15pm (Nepali time) read, “....the Facebook at imminent risk of death or serious physical injury.” Facebook also sent the profile of the user.

Police immediately jumped into action and was able to locate the person in Rabibhawan area. But they could not immediately trace the house from where the person was live streaming. Police then took help of locals and finally located the house after almost 45 minutes.

When police barged into the room, the man with bare torso was shocked and tried to convince them that he was not trying to commit suicide.

The live stream begins with the man, whose identity has not been revealed for privacy reasons, taking off his robe with swag and pulling out a kitchen knife. He then puts the sharp edge of the knife on his arm and says, “Do you know how blood spills out if you cut yourself?” in broken English. The man then repeats the act of trying to cut his arm throughout the video. In the last 15 seconds of the video, police could be heard entering the room and asking the man what he was doing.

The police then rounded him up and took him to Bir Hospital for a medical check-up. “He has suffered minor injuries as he was not using the knife to commit self-harm. We handed him over to his family yesterday,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Pashupati Kumar Ray.

The man had tried to inflict harm on himself as he was “frustrated with his life”, according to Ray. The man told the police he had just separated with his girlfriend who is in Australia.

“The live stream is a clear sign that the man was trying to take his life,” said Superintendent of Police Bel Bahadur Pandey. But in the video that is still on Facebook the man does not explicitly say he was trying to commit suicide. Police, however, said the man had posted another video in which he had threatened to kill himself. That video, however, has been deleted.

“We believe he would have ultimately taken his life or at least seriously injured himself if we had not intervened,” said SP Pandey.