QUEZON City Police District director, Chief Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar has warned anew netizens to be wary of ‘sextortion’ saying the QCPD’s newly-formed Anti-Cybercrime Team is now on the prowl for cybersex rings operating in QC and other parts of Metro Manila.
A former director of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG), Eleazar issued the advisory after they smashed a suspected cybersex den inside Pablo Compound in Commonwealth Avenue, Barangay Old Balar, Q.C. last month.
At least 30 people were arrested during the raid conducted on the strength of a search warrant for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act issued by Judge Arthur Malabaguio of the QC Regional Trial Court Branch 39. The arrested suspects were accused of serving as ‘facilitators’ of a porn site with private chatrooms and ‘live shows.’ They were believed to be among at least 90 employees of the raided establishment.
The main target of the raid identified as Allan Rey Sulit is still being hunted as of yesterday. Eleazar said the 30 suspects, with ages ranging from 18 to 32, were caught selling pornographic materials online.
Aware of findings that both young and old are ending up as victims of ‘sextortion’ in the country, Eleazar warned the public to be wary of sextortion dens masquerading as ‘call centers’ but operating without any government permit.
A member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987, Eleazar said that employees of the raided sextortion ring entice clients into signing up on adult websites on a ‘pay-per-view’ arrangement, mostly in dollars.
The PNP-ACG now headed by Senior Supt. Marni Marcos is also hot on the trail of ‘sextortion’ rings in the country that record the sex act of their victims and later threaten to send the video to their targets’ families if their extortion demand is unheeded.
In July 2013, a 17-year old Scottish named Daniel Perry took his own life after falling victim to a ‘sextortion’ ring in the country which lured him into webcam chats and then blackmailed him with the footage showing him in some uncompromising situation.
Some viewers are known to have been tricked into speaking with a nude performer, usually a young girl or a transvestite without knowing they are being recorded. The suspects then threaten to expose them if they don’t cough up cash.
Eleazar said that during his stint with the PNP-ACG, they smashed several sextortion gangs 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,” he said.
Police have launched a crackdown against sextortion gangs in the country which has been identified as a current hub of ‘sextortion’ syndicates operating in Southeast Asia.
“The scale of this extortion network is massive since the crime is not limited to any one country and neither are the victims. This is the reason why the cooperation of all our foreign counterparts is essential in investigating these crimes,” said Eleazar.
The PNP-ACG also raised an alarm over the presence of foreign and domestic cybercrime operators involved in cyber pornography, cybersex den, illegal gambling, and credit card fraud and identity theft.
Eleazar said there is also the emergence of groups involved in sextortion where suspects act in group to create fake Facebook or Skype accounts and lure Westerners, Asians and other Filipinos to engage in online sex. The suspects usually demand $500 to $2,000 from their victims and threaten to send their lewd videos to their relatives and friends unless they pay.
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.
“We are warning online companies involved in sextortion to stop their illegal activities,” said Eleazar. “They are using call center as a legitimate company but they are into sextortion. We will not stop from raiding them if they will not end their illegal activities and they are destroying the name of our business processing and outsourcing companies which are legitimate call centers in the country,” the QCPD director said.