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When 'job opportunities' turn sinister

Internet users, beware of tricks by sex predators in search of victims

UNCOVERING PERVERTS

Parents who wonder who their children talk to on social media may be right to be worried. It could very well be a sexual predator.

A real-life account of someone who may have encountered a sexual predator has been making the rounds online, and it offers a glimpse at how such men operate.

Facebook user Zul Haikal Jaafar came across a Facebook post from someone calling himself Ivan who was offering job opportunities to underage girls, which turned out to be a subterfuge for something more sinister. He had been sending WhatsApp messages to random numbers with the offers.

Mr Zul, 25, posed as a 17-year-old student looking for work, and asked Ivan if there were any job vacancies.

Within a minute, Ivan replied, asking if Mr Zul was "female and single".


A WhatsApp chat image of the exchange that Mr Zul had with someone called Ivan, who may have been a sexual predator. PHOTO: ZUL HAIKAL JAAFAR/FACEBOOK

He then proceeded to ask if Mr Zul was "open-minded" and willing to make easy money.

The conversation soon turned sexual. Ivan told "her" that "she" would have to sleep with him, as "a lot of money will be invested in her training".

Commercial sex with a minor under 18 is illegal in Singapore, and carries a sentence of up to seven years.

To move things along, Ivan sent Mr Zul several photos of himself to showcase his "athleticism".

From the photos provided, Ivan looked to be a man of about 40 years of age.

Things came to a grinding halt, however, when Mr Zul revealed his true identity to Ivan, who then halted all communication with him.

Mr Zul's Facebook post of the WhatsApp chat images has garnered more than 2,000 likes, comments and shares on Facebook.

Other WhatsApp users whom Ivan has approached said they have lodged police reports.

This incident serves as a timely reminder to parents of the dangers posed by predators who leverage social media to seek out victims.


A cartoon meme of the image. PHOTO: YAN CHEN/FACEBOOK

More information can be found online at http://www.medialiteracycouncil.sg/

PORK BUN IS LIFE?

Typhoon Megi wreaked havoc in Taiwan over the past week.

Amid the deluge of photos and videos of the devastation, netizens have latched on to one unlikely image - that of a Taiwanese woman eating a pork bun.

The photo, taken by Associated Press photographer Chiang Ying-Ying, had the accompanying caption: "A woman eats and struggles with her umbrella against powerful gusts of wind."

The woman has been identified by Taiwan's Apple Daily as Mrs Dai, a fruit-seller. Her dedication to consuming the traditional snack amid the wind and fury was praised by many Twitter users.


The photo of a Taiwanese woman eating a pork bun during a typhoon went viral last week, with Twitter users poking gentle fun at her determination to eat the traditional snack. PHOTO: MONICA LIN/FACEBOOK

"In the midst of life's storms, be the hero that is this lady eating a pork bun in the middle of a typhoon," said one user.

"When there's a raging typhoon in Taiwan but (a) steamed pork bun is life," said another.

#Taiwan, #moderndayhero and #wearetaiwanese were some of the trending hashtags.

Some netizens have even gone as far as to call her a legend, a hero and an iconic display of the Taiwanese national spirit.

As with anything that fires the imagination of netizens, the image was also quickly turned into a meme.

One cartoon, by illustrator Yan Chen, carried the caption: "You can have the umbrella, but not the bun!"

Unfortunately, Mrs Dai is uncomfortable with her new-found fame.

Apple Daily reported that she is now afraid to go to work, fearing public attention.

CHECK YOUR TWEETS

Using automation software to push out content on social media saves many organisations time and money.

  • NOTABLE TRENDS

    #SINGAPURABEAUTY: The hashtag, which challenges the standard of what is considered beautiful in Singapore, trended on Twitter as users of all races took to the social media platform to post pictures of their friends and themselves.

    #HOWTWITTERHASCHANGEDMYLIFE: Has Twitter changed your life? It has for many users, it seems. "I accidentally introduced myself, in person, to another human being, as 'At Joseph Scrimshaw'," said one user.

    PPAP: It stands for Pen Pineapple Apple Pen. It is performed by DJ Piko-Taro, a fictional character played by Japanese entertainer Kazuhiko Kosaka. The song is less than a minute long and has millions of views.

But an over-reliance on digital tools and a lack of proper checks can potentially lead to embarrassment.

The Australian Women's Weekly magazine was left red-faced when Twitter user and radio presenter Ti Butler (@tibutler) pointed out it had been sending out tweets without any links or accompanying photos.

It was obvious that despite having a Twitter presence, the magazine was not monitoring what was being posted.

People were left scratching their heads over statements like "Baby born without eyes", "Iconic ice block of our youth gone!" and "Obviously someone very special missing…" which had no accompanying links to explain the tantalising headlines.

Some joked that the magazine must be "drunk tweeting" - sending out messages under the influence of alcohol.

Or it might have been a hangover, for the glitch is not new to Australian Women's Weekly.

Bizarre tweets have been spawned sporadically by the magazine's Twitter account since last year.

The mis-tweets were deleted shortly after Mr Butler's story went viral.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 02, 2016, with the headline 'When 'job opportunities' turn sinister'. Print Edition | Subscribe