SINGAPORE: A man extorted thousands of dollars from multiple male victims after posing as a woman, transsexual person or "pre-operation she-male" online and gaining the victims' nude photos.
Ramlan Abu, 24, created a profile on website Locanto.sg, where he advertised sexual services under female names such as "Ellisha" or "Mariaa" and those interested in his services would get in touch.
After acquiring nude photos of his victims, Ramlan would threaten to release the pictures unless they transferred him money.
He tried to extort or cheat at least 10 victims between September 2017 and October 2018, the court heard, and he pocketed S$6,000 in total.
The man was sentenced on Wednesday (Jun 12) to jail for six-and-a-half years and 10 strokes of the cane. He had pleaded guilty to 14 charges ranging from extortion to cheating, with another 50 charges taken into consideration.
ONE MAN PAID HIM S$3,110 OVER A MONTH
In September last year, Ramlan targeted a 22-year-old man, who came across his advertisement on Locanto offering sexual services. Thinking Ramlan was a woman, the victim willingly sent him a nude photo of himself, before making a video call, on Ramlan's suggestion.
At the beginning of the video call, the man still believed Ramlan to be a woman, and agreed to pay him S$55.55 to see "her" masturbate.
After the man saw Ramlan's genitals, the victim realised that Ramlan was actually a man. He eventually ended the call and transferred S$55.55 to Ramlan when asked to do so.
Ramlan later asked the victim for another S$90. He sent the victim a Facebook post with a picture of the victim's privates, as well as a picture of his face.
He told the victim that he would not take down the Facebook post if the victim did not transfer S$90 to him.
The man did as instructed, fearing for his reputation, but Ramlan persisted in other such extortion tactics. In total, the man transferred S$3,110 to him on 31 occasions over about a month.
The victim filed a police report as he could no longer take the stress of the extortion, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhou Yihong.
POSED AS HIS OWN AGENT FOR MORE MONEY
The following month, Ramlan snagged another victim by stating in his Locanto advertisement that he was a "pre-op she-male". He meant that he was a man who had not yet had his operation to become a woman.
The victim, a 34-year man, contacted Ramlan in October 2018 and the pair arranged to meet at Ramlan's home. The victim paid Ramlan S$60 for a sex act, and left at about 3.30am.
Ramlan contacted the victim using another number, pretending to be his own "agent". He kicked up a fuss over the fee the victim had paid Ramlan, and tricked the man into transferring another S$100 to his account.
In August 2018, another man contacted Ramlan, thinking he was a transsexual, and got a quote of S$300 for sexual services.
Ramlan texted the man on WhatsApp, claiming that the man had made Ramlan wait but did not turn up. He sent the victim a post on Locanto that contained his photo and personal information, and demanded money if the victim wanted the post taken down. The 30-year-old man transferred S$350 in total to Ramlan.
The earliest known victim, a 39-year-old man, contacted Ramlan in September 2017 after seeing his Locanto profile under the name "Maria".
They exchanged WhatsApp messages, negotiating terms for Ramlan's sexual services. After the man refused to meet Ramlan at Boon Lay, Ramlan asked him to transfer him S$250, or he would post their conversation on Facebook to shame him.
Fearing this, the man transferred the money to Ramlan. Ramlan cheated him of another S$220 by posing as his "agent", and the man later filed a police report.
The 24-year-old was arrested on Oct 23 last year. He was found with methamphetamine and drug utensils, which form the basis of two other charges he pleaded guilty to.
For putting the victims in fear of harm to commit extortion, he could have been jailed between two years and five years, and caned.