The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group arrested 20 persons for cybercrime charges during an operations in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, PNP-ACG director, Senior Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said Thursday.
Eleazar said that before midnight Wednesday the cybercops raided a cybersex den in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan where they arrested 20 persons, 13 of them males accused of recording the sex act of their victims and threatening to send the video to their target’s families if their extortion demand is unheeded.
“Through our Strikeback Operation 2016, we have smashed another local cybersex ring victimizing foreigners and even Filipinos, luring them into webcam chats and blackmailing the victims with the footage showing them in compromising situations,” said Eleazar.
Strikeback is a massive operation of the PNP ACG aimed at neutralizing cybersex syndicates in the country particularly those involved in so-called sextortion. The Interpol has tagged the Philippines, Morocco and Ivory Coast as the top three countries where “sextortion” rings operate.
Around 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, cybercops from the PNP ACG Cyber Response Team led by Superintendent Jay Guillermo raided the office of the Jaira Online Marketing Services located at the 2nd and 3rd floors of 8650 ME Building in Eraño Manalo Street, Purok 6, Area-C in Barangay San Martin, Sapang Palay, San Jose del Monte City on the strength of a search warrant for violation of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybersex Act of the Philippines issued by Judge Ramon D. Pamular of the Guimba, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 32.
The authorities, with the assistance of the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Office 3 and the San Jose del Monte City Police Station arrested the 20 suspects and seized 39 computer sets, three computer servers, three TP Link routers, two PLDT DSL, one CPU without monitor, 16 different cellphones and one Ipad during the operation.
All 20 suspects who are residents from different parts of Bulacan were taken to the PNP-ACG headquarters in Camp Crame for documentation after they were apprised of their constitutional rights, said the PNP-ACG director.
Eleazar said the sextortion rings target males who are lured by messages from attractive women to expose their private parts on webcam. They are then told to pay up if they did not want the images to be shared with friends, family members and social media contacts.
He said that “sextortion” syndicates usually demand USD500-USD2,000 from their victims.