Man posing as woman held for extortion

Man posing as woman held for extortion

CHIANG MAI: A man who allegedly posed as a woman to blackmail a male university student online was arrested on Tuesday, according to police.

Acting on an arrest warrant by the Criminal Court, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) and the Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children (TICAC) Task Force arrested Natthawut Klinhom, 20, a Chiang Mai native.

Mr Natthawut has been charged with extortion.

According to the authorities, the victim, 19, filed a complaint against Mr Natthawut, accusing him of blackmail.

The victim said he met Mr Natthawut, who posed as a woman, online and the two started a romantic relationship on social media.

He said Natthawut started asking for nude photos and he obliged. However, Mr Natthawut then began extorting money while threatening to release the pictures if the victim refused to pay.

The student initially paid, but he could no longer do so after spending 19,000 baht to prevent Natthawut from publishing the photos.

The victim then filed the complaint with police, which led to Mr Natthawut’s arrest.

The authorities raided Mr Natthawut’s home in the province and found the student’s photos on a computer and mobile phones. Mr Natthawut reportedly confessed, saying he committed the crime for the money.

In addition, ATPD and TICAC law enforcement agents arrested Piyawat Benjawan, 40, for allegedly possessing child porn in his possession.

Pol Maj Gen Weerachon Boonthawee, investigation chief of provincial police bureau 5, said the TICAC was informed by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation that an individual in Thailand had downloaded large quantities of pornography involving minors.

Police nabbed Mr Piyawat at his home in Chiang Mai.

Mr Piyawat reportedly confessed he downloaded pictures of underage girls because he was bored while under self-isolation.

Pol Maj Gen Weerachon noted that it is illegal to download nude photos of individuals under the age of 18.

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