Co-conspirator in sex video extortion plot jailed 4 weeks, disqualified from driving for two years

SINGAPORE - A man who knowingly drove his friend to a location to extort money from a teenager was sentenced to four weeks' jail and disqualified from driving for two years.

As the police moved in to nab the pair, Nitesh Naidu Raj Kumar Naidu, 24, tried to evade capture, embarking on a dangerous high-speed chase before the police stopped the pursuit in the interest of public safety.

Naidu's friend and mastermind of the extortion plot, Naveenthiran Thevathas, 21, was sentenced last July to four years and two months' jail with three strokes of the cane.

Naveenthiran had got hold of a mobile phone belonging to an 18-year-old girl from a mutual friend in January last year.

While reading her messages, he discovered two videos of her having sex with a 17-year-old boy, and decided on a plan of extortion.

On Valentine's Day, he sent one of the videos to the boy, and demanded $50,000, knowing he came from a well-to-do family.  Naveenthiran threatened to post the video on social media and send it to his father if his victim did not accede to his demand.

The teenager made a police report that day, and an operation to arrest the accused was planned.

 
 
 

The next day, the boy told Naveenthiran that he had managed to raise $8,000. Naveenthiran then called Naidu, who drove the duo to collect the money.

The teenager was told to place the money at a specific fire hydrant on Hillcrest Road.

Shortly after the pair retrieved the money, Naidu drove off at high speed, leading to a pursuit which lasted about 13 minutes before the police lost sight of his van on the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE).

In his attempt to get away, Naidu drove dangerously, speeding on roads that included Watten Drive, Watten Park, Watten Estate Road, Dunearn Road, Adam Road and the PIE, "without having any regard for the other road users", said Deputy Public Prosecutor Shen Wanqin.

Numerous road users behind his van had to brake abruptly to avoid a collision, she said.

Even after the police repeatedly signalled for Naidu to stop, he did not do so and instead ignored a few traffic light signals during the pursuit, the court heard.

The police then decided to stop the pursuit in the interest of safety.

Both men were eventually arrested after they parked the van near Block 339 Woodlands Avenue 1. Marked notes amounting to $2,000 in $50 denominations were also seized from the van.