Surrey Creep Catchers president arrested after confrontation with alleged target

Surrey RCMP have confirmed the president of a controversial vigilante group in the city was arrested for allegedly assaulting a target during a "sting" on Monday evening.

Members of Surrey Creep Catchers confronted a man they claimed was trying to solicit a six-year-old girl for sex, according to an online post.

In a video, the group's vice president appears to pose as the girl's mother in order to facilitate the meeting.

The clip later shows president Ryan Laforge appearing to pin the man up against a wall, yelling at him.

On Tuesday, Surrey RCMP confirmed they responded to the scene on King George Blvd at around 6:40 p.m.

Laforge was arrested on suspicion of assault and later released from custody on a promise to appear, according to a statement.

The RCMP said members are also aware of allegations of child luring and have reviewed video showing some of Monday's incident.

Cpl. Scotty Schumann said a "thorough investigation" is ongoing.

Mounties also confirmed Laforge alerted them to his plans to confront a target Sunday. An officer said the group's president was asked to turn over any evidence to police, rather than meet the man himself.

Laforge stated the opposite in an online post in which he said RCMP was "fine with" his plan.

Officials denounce vigilantism

Creep Catchers has several chapters in different cities across Canada.

Group members claim to expose people they allege to be sexual predators by posing as minors online, then messaging them and arranging to meet in public locations.

The confrontations that follow are filmed and posted online, along with previous messages, in an effort to shame the men.

Law enforcement officials across the country have repeatedly denounced vigilantism, saying it "only increases the risk to the public."

"They're not professionals, they don't understand the case law and often it's very hard to obtain the evidence," Insp. Tyler Svendson told CBC News in September. "With the RCMP, we have a very high success rate in all of our investigations because we have highly trained online covert investigators."

The Surrey Creep Catchers is currently being investigated by B.C.'s privacy watchdog after the office received a complaint.

No details about the complaint of the investigation have been released.

Since February, Laforge has been sued twice for defamation. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

CBC News has reached out to Laforge for comment on Monday's incident.