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28 people were arrested allegedly engaging in international “sextortion” activities on the Internet

Twenty-eight people were arrested in Olongapo City on Wednesday night for allegedly engaging in international “sextortion” activities on the Internet.

The Philippine National Police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group carried out the raid on a building on Rizal Avenue in Barangay West Tapinac after receiving a tip on the alleged sextortion activities. One of them a woman, PNP-ACG director Senior Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar announced yesterday.




In a report to PNP chief Director General Ricardo C. Marquez, the official said the 28 suspects were found engaged in the business of ‘selling pornographic materials’ or pornographic website links to their clients abroad and later duping them into exposing themselves in front of webcams.

 “The suspects are known for blackmailing their victims, demanding money from them or they will upload their videos showing them naked and engaging in sexual acts via Internet,” said the PNP-ACG director. He added that the suspected leader of the ‘sextortion’ gang, identified as one Jay Morete is still being hunted.
  
The arrests were the latest to be made by the PNP-ACG regarding ‘sextortion’ syndicates in the country, which has been identified as a current hub of ‘sextortion’ syndicates operating in Southeast Asia. Facebook in 2014 tagged the Philippines as the ‘sextortion’ capital of the world.
  
Eleazar said ‘sextortion’ syndicates would secretly record the victims after tricking them into exposing their bodies or having cybersex, and later threaten to send the video to their relatives and friends unless they paid, usually from $500 to $2,000.
  
The official said members of the “sextortion” group would create fake Facebook accounts of fictitious young and attractive women and entice and lure victims with pornographic materials after striking up online chats with them.
  
“After getting acquainted with the victims... they engage in cybersex, and this will be recorded unknown to the victims. After that, they will threaten to release it to friends and relatives,” Eleazar said, while noting that elderly men and even children have been targeted by syndicates.
  
The official said the suspects were arrested at the 3rd floor of a building on Rizal Ave., Bgy. West Tapinac, Olongapo City, which was raided by his men on the strength of a search warrant for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act 2012 issued by Judge Ramon D. Pamular of the Guimba, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 32.
  
The suspects will be charged for violation of Section  4(c)1 (Cybersex) Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act before of the Prosecutor’s Office, Department of Justice, Manila.

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