Indonesia police confiscate sex toy mistaken for 'angel'

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A recent undated handout picture released by Indonesian police and made available on 3 May 2016 shows an Indonesian man holding a sex doll in Banggai in Sulawesi.Image source, AFP/Indonesian Police
Image caption,
Pictures spread on social media of the apparent "angel"

Indonesian police have confiscated a sex toy from a remote village after its inhabitants and some on social media mistook it for an "angel".

The doll was found in March floating in the sea by a fisherman in the Banggai islands in Sulawesi province.

His family took care of the doll, and pictures soon spread online along with claims it was an angel.

Police investigated amid fears the rumours would cause unrest, and found it was in fact an inflatable sex doll.

Image source, AFP / Indonesian police
Image caption,
The doll was taken home by the fisherman

Indonesian news portal Detik said photos of the doll dressed demurely and wearing a hijab spread on social media shortly after its discovery.

Rumours then began to spread that it was a "bidadari" along with unverified stories about how it was found "stranded and crying", prompting the police investigation.

Many across Indonesia continue to hold strong beliefs in the supernatural, including the existence of "bidadari", which is a type of angel or spirit.

Local police chief Heru Pramukarno told reporters that villagers had found the doll shortly after the rare March solar eclipse that swept across South East Asia.

The timing of the discovery led some to believe the doll had a divine provenance.

"They have no internet, they don't know what a sex toy is," the police chief was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

In 2012, a TV station in China's Xian city apologised after running a false report that a local farmer had discovered a giant piece of precious lingzhi mushroom.

The fleshy object, found in a well by the farmer, was identified by many viewers as a sex toy made of silicone.