Police in Canberra have warned menacing behaviour will not be tolerated, after reports surfaced of a group of men dressed as clowns carrying bats in the city's south on Saturday night.
An ACT Policing spokesman said officers were called to Lanyon Marketplace in Conder after a man saw a group of men dressed in clown outfits walking up the street with bats.
"Police conducted an extensive search of the area but they were not able to locate the clowns," he said.
It comes as reports of people wearing creepy clown masks emerge all over the Australia as part of a bizarre craze sweeping the globe.
The "clown panic" originated in South Carolina in August, after reports of people dressed as clowns luring children into the woods.
It has since whipped up fear and provoked threats of vigilantism worldwide.
A YouTube clip of a man purportedly bashing a clown in Parramatta has been watched almost 65,000 times.
As the panic intensified in Canberra on Monday, ACT Policing put out a statement on its Facebook page.
"ACT Policing is aware of recent reports of people wearing clown masks and intimidating members of the community, as part of a viral social media stunt which originated in the United States," a spokesperson said.
"Any type of intimidating, threatening or anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and will be investigated by police. If you feel unsafe or see anyone behaving in a suspicious and threatening manner, call police on 131 444. In an emergency call Triple Zero (000)."
While some reacted with levity – "Will you be packing 20 officers into Kenny's Prius?" one man wrote – others have responded with threats of violence.
"If I see one, it will be underneath my car waiting for you guys to come scrape it up," another man wrote on ACT Policing's Facebook page.