Hong Kong man arrested on suspicion of using nude photos to blackmail ex-girlfriend into paying him HK$60,000
- Police say they made the arrest after a 41-year-old woman filed a complaint saying nude photos were being used as leverage to blackmail her
- So-called sextortion cases are on the rise in Hong Kong, up 130 per cent in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period last year
A Hong Kong man has been arrested on suspicion of using nude photos of his ex-girlfriend to blackmail her into paying him some HK$60,000 (US$7,740), police said on Tuesday.
The case came to light at about 6.15pm on Monday when the 42-year-old woman was seen in an emotional, unstable state during a meeting with her former boyfriend, aged 51, in Sha Tin, prompting a passer-by to call police.
“The man was accused of sending her nude photo to her mobile phone last week and demanding she pay HK$60,000, otherwise the photo would be sent to her current boyfriend,” a police source said.
He added that the duo, who broke up last year, had arranged to meet in Sha Tin on Monday evening.
Police arrested the man in connection with the case and his mobile phone was seized.
As of Tuesday evening, the suspect, a construction worker, had been released on bail, pending further investigation. Detectives from the Sha Tin criminal investigation unit are handling the case.
According to police figures, officers handled 373 reports of blackmail across the city in the first half of this year, up 54.8 per cent from 241 cases in the same period last year.
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The surge is due in part to the rising number of so-called sextortion cases, in which victims are blackmailed over recordings of steamy online video chats with crooks overseas.
The number of such cases rose nearly 130 per cent, to 206, in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, while the amount of money involved more than tripled, surging to HK$1.3 million from HK$400,000.
The crimes typically involve extortionists – most of them female – taking off their clothes in front of their webcams to entice victims into doing the same.
They then secretly record their victims and threaten to circulate the videos online or distribute them to the targets’ relatives or friends if they refuse to pay.