Berlin's shocking migrant death revealed as hoax

Earlier this week, word got out that a 24-year-old asylum seeker died after waiting in the freezing cold outside Berlin's State Office for Health and Social Affairs (Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales, or 'LaGeSo' for short).

The news was followed by several outraged reports and damning commentary in the media.

Facebook/Moabit Hilft

Facebook/Moabit Hilft

Well-meaning mourners wearing black armbands gathered to light candles outside the office of 'Moabit Hilft', a charity which provides food and clothes to those migrants waiting for registration. That same charity posted an epitaph for the man on social media, which read "We mourn for you... You didn't survive LaGeSo. You caught a fever, chills and a heart attack. We are crying."

Berlin's police were puzzled by the death. Their inquiries at the State Office and local emergency services and medical clinics failed to uncover any first-hand accounts or documentation on the mysterious migrant.

They found the source of the story on Facebook, in a post made by a Moabit Hilft volunteer. The volunteer had written a heartbreaking account of the asylum seeker's heart attack.

Turns out, he lied.

"We interrogated the man, who claimed today that a 24-year-old refugee died in Berlin," explained police on Twitter. After questioning the volunteer, they found the man "made the story up" and that "no-one has died in this context".

The Facebook post and the account which he used to post it have since been deleted.

It comes at a time when Berlin's authorities are under immense public pressure to handle the influx of migrants as humanely as possible. Currently, asylum seekers have to wait outside the State Office for days at a time, just for their initial registration. Many are dependent on handouts to feed and clothe themselves for the winter weather.

Listen to our report on Berlin's handling, or rather mishandling, of the migration crisis: