Interpol sexual blackmail investigation nets 58 arrests

58 people suspected of engaging in 'sextortion' -- sexual blackmail -- were arrested in the Philippines during a multi-national Interpol operation codenamed "Operation Strikeback."
By JC Finley   |   May 2, 2014 at 4:41 PM   |   Comments

MANILA, May 2 (UPI) -- Interpol announced Friday that an operation codenamed "Operation Strikeback" targeting a sexual blackmail network led to 58 arrests.

Interpol Digital Crime Center collaborated with police forces in Hong Kong and Singapore, and the Philippines National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group. Together, they identified "between 190 and 195 individuals working for organized crime groups operating out of the Philippines."

On April 30 and May 1, the Philippines National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group carried out raids in Bicol, Bulacan, Laguna and Taguig City, and 250 pieces of electronic evidence were recovered.

Victims were identified with the help of numerous law enforcement agencies around the world, including Scottish, British and American.

Sanjay Virmani, Interpol's director of its Digital Crime Center observed that "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."

Interpol defines "sextortion" as "sexual blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favours and/or money from the victim, with blackmail demands ranging between USD 500 and USD 15,000."

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