TIME Crime

58 Nabbed in Philippines Sexual Blackmail Sting

Those arrested are accused of threatening to publicize images of online video-chats if their victims didn’t pay up

Police in the Philippines this week arrested 58 people on suspected involvement in an international sexual blackmail scheme, Interpol said Friday.

In one instance, a Scottish teenager victimized by the crime ring jumped to his death after blackmailers threatened to show his family records of video-chat interactions he’d had online with someone he thought was an American girl his own age if he didn’t pay them. The alleged blackmailers demanded between $500 and $15,000 from their victims, located in places around the world including Indonesia, the Philippines, the U.K., the U.S. and Hong Kong, CNN reports.

“The scale of these sextortion networks is massive, and run with just one goal in mind: to make money regardless of the terrible emotional damage they inflict on their victims,” said Sanjay Virmani, director of Interpol’s Digital Crime Center.


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