SPF was part of Interpol bust, targeted at organised crime behind 'sextortion' cases

(From left) Interpol's Digital Crime Centre director Sanjay Virmani, Britain's Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad and Philippine police chief Alan Purisima during a press conference at the police headquarters in Manila on May 2, 2014.&nbsp
(From left) Interpol's Digital Crime Centre director Sanjay Virmani, Britain's Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad and Philippine police chief Alan Purisima during a press conference at the police headquarters in Manila on May 2, 2014. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) was also involved the Interpol-coordinated bust, targeted at organised crime networks behind 'sextortion' cases around the world. -- PHOTO: AFP

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) was also involved the Interpol-coordinated bust, targeted at organised crime networks behind 'sextortion' cases around the world.

The police, responding to queries from The Straits Times on Friday, confirmed that it had participated in the operation, codenamed Operation Strikeback.

During the operation, a series of raids was carried out by the Philippines National Police (PNP) in Bicol, Bulacan, Laguna and Taguig City on April 30 and May 1, resulting in the arrest of 58 individuals.

The suspects are said to have lured victims with people posing as attractive, young women into giving sexually explicit photos or videos of themselves online. These victims were then blackmailed sometimes repeatedly for many thousands of dollars.

The police said that while it continues to provide assistance to the PNP in their ongoing investigations, it would like to advise the public to take the following preventive measures when interacting online:

• Be wary of messages from unknown people who want to befriend you.

• Do not accede to any request that may put you in vulnerable positions, such as performing compromising acts in front of the webcam, or giving personal details about yourself when interacting with other internet users.

• If anyone attempts to extort money from you or should you become a victim of such an attempt, call the police immediately.

• Do not remit or transfer money.

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