Bahrain-based online sex racket 'targeted kids'
Manama, October 24, 2013
Hundreds of children around the world were targeted by a paedophile sex ring operating in Bahrain, a report said.
Victims as young as 11 living in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, the UK, France and Germany were allegedly blackmailed into performing immoral acts by members of the group, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Four Bahraini suspects denied luring their victims by creating fake profiles on social media websites using photographs of girls, as they appeared at the High Criminal Court yesterday.
It is claimed they threatened to publish compromising pictures of the children and expose them to their families if they did not do whatever they demanded.
The ring has allegedly been operating since 2010 and its members are said to have distributed hundreds of pictures and videos of the victims online.
Despite denying the charges, one of the suspects, aged 20, earlier confessed to heading the group and admitted personally targeting around 100 children worldwide.
"I am responsible for all the accounts that I set up to target children in Bahrain and internationally," he said in a statement to prosecutors.
"I would pretend I was a girl and would have sex talk with the children. I would then tell them to strip and show me their body parts, while I secretly took pictures.
"I would then threaten and blackmail them, if they did not give me money, to post their pictures on Facebook and show it to their parents.
"I forced 30 children to bring a friend, where they would touch each other, kiss and have sex on the webcam.
"I then threatened 60 children that I would publish their nude photos and I posted 45 pictures of them on Facebook. The countries I targeted were Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, the UK, France, London and Germany.
"I specifically targeted European countries to improve my English and because they wouldn't mind getting nude.
"I also showed my friends (two of the other defendants) the pictures and videos. I am sorry for doing these things and I will never do it again if you pardon me."
One of the alleged victims, 13, told prosecutors he was tricking into performing a sexual act after thinking he was communicating with a girl.
Two of the defendants were yesterday released from custody pending the outcome of the trial, while another suspect, who was earlier arrested and questioned by the Public Prosecution, had the charges against him dropped.
The trial was adjourned to November 24.
The alleged sex crime came to light after authorities in Bahrain received a tip off from British police. – TradeArabia News Service