SINGAPORE: A man was sentenced to a year's jail on Monday (Apr 8) for threats he made to two men he met on Grindr.
Nigerian national Okereke Ransom Okechukwu, 34, had met the two men, whose identities are protected by gag order, within four days of each other via Grindr, a dating app for men.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal intimidation to a 36-year-old Singapore permanent resident and a 32-year-old Australian man.
Ransom's modus operandi for both men was the same: He got to know them on Grindr and met them for sex.
While the victim performed a sex act on him, Ransom would give an excuse to use his phone before filming the victim in the act.
After doing so, he demanded that the victim pay him cash.
The court heard that Ransom met the first victim on May 19 last year, the same day they began chatting on the app.
The Singapore permanent resident invited the accused to his home that afternoon, where he performed a sex act on the Nigerian as asked.
While he was doing so, Ransom took out his phone, saying he wanted to check something on it. However, he secretly filmed the victim performing the sex act on him, before placing the phone in his pocket.
HE DEMANDED S$500 FROM VICTIM
After this, Ransom demanded that the victim pay him S$500, but the man refused. Ransom then showed him the video he had taken.
The victim asked him to delete it, but Ransom refused and threatened to leak the video and ruin his reputation if he did not get S$500.
Fearing for his reputation, the victim told Ransom that he did not have S$500 on hand and needed to withdraw it from an ATM.
Both men went to an UOB ATM at International Plaza where the victim withdrew S$200 and gave it to Ransom, saying that amount had hit his daily withdrawal limit.
Ransom was not satisfied with the money and pressed for the remaining S$300, which the victim withdrew from another ATM. Seeing this, Ransom accused the victim of lying about the daily withdrawal limit and that he needed to pay another S$500.
The victim pleaded with him to delete the video, and called the police after Ransom refused. As the victim was on the phone with the police, Ransom followed him and shouted at him, before running away when he realised who he was talking to.
While investigations were ongoing, Ransom targeted a second victim.
SECOND VICTIM NOTICED THE PHONE ON RECORD MODE
He began talking to the Australian man, who was in town for a business trip, on the same Grindr app just a day after meeting his first victim.
Two days later on May 22, 2018, the victim agreed to have Ransom over at his M Hotel room for sex.
Ransom headed to the hotel that night and began undressing. He held onto his phone, telling the victim that he wanted to watch pornography as the victim performed a sex act on him.
However, as the victim was doing so, he heard a sound from Ransom's phone and realised that he was recording a video.
The Australian man questioned Ransom about it and both men got dressed before they began quarrelling.
Ransom demanded that the victim pay him S$1,500, but the man refused. Ransom then told him that he had a gun and would kill the victim if he did not hand over the money.
The victim suggested trying to get money from the hotel's reception counter, and Ransom walked out of the room with the victim following him.
However, once Ransom was out of the room, the victim closed the door and locked it, before calling for the hotel's security staff.
Ransom began banging on the door of the room, demanding the cash, but left before the security officers arrived.
He was arrested a day later at Hotel 81 Hollywood in Geylang.
For the offence of criminal intimidation, Ransom could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, or both. For threatening to kill the Australian man, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years, fined, or both.