Jakarta. The Jakarta Police said on Saturday they have arrested 48 suspects of Chinese and Vietnamese nationalities for alleged extortion and data theft using dating apps.
The ring lured their victims with dating apps offering sexual chats and used recorded video and audio contents to extort money from them, Jakarta Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Yusri Yunus told reporters.
"This is a transnational crime involving Chinese and Vietnamese suspects," Yusri said.
“The investigation is a collaboration of the Taiwanese Police, the Indonesian Police, the Immigration Directorate, and the Justice Ministry. All the victims are from China and Taiwan," he added.
The raids on the cybercriminals were conducted separately at three rented shophouses in Jakarta on Friday night, Yusri said.
Among the suspects are four women who persuaded their male victims to strip during the video chats.
The suspects used phishing URLs through social media apps like WeChat and Line to randomly pick their victims and obtain sensitive information such as contacts, passwords, and banking details.
“They threatened to distribute the victim’s nude photos and videos to their contact list unless they get paid,” Cybercrime Division Director Chief Comr. Auliansyah Lubis said.
The Jakarta Police are coordinating with their Taiwanese counterparts for further legal proceedings, he said. All the suspects are kept at the immigration office’s detention facility and it remains unclear if they will be tried in Indonesia.
Police charge them under the Electronic Information and Transaction Law (ITE) that carries a maximum punishment of six years’ imprisonment.
The story has been corrected from the original version stating that Taiwanese were among the suspects. The Jakarta Globe apologizes for the error.