Nine people to face charges over ‘honeytrap’ nude photo blackmailing scam

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) have sent a case involving nine people to the Prosecutor General (PG), alleging the group was involved in blackmailing people after acquiring nude pictures and videos of them through Facebook.

Last year in February, police arrested 14 persons including a minor for alleged involvement in the blackmailing ring, after the group used a fraudulent Facebook account to acquire videos of politicians, businessman and other members of the public and used the material to blackmail them for money.

In a press briefing held yesterday, police revealed to media the details of the nine persons facing charges, all of them from Hithadhoo in Addu City: Mohamed Mumin (26), Hussain Shah (24), Ahmed Mohamed (26), Mohamed Minsar (24), Azmeen Ishaag (23), Mohamed Ishaag (27), Ibrahim Ishaag (20), Ali Ishaag (26) and Ahmed Athif (21).

Police stated that during the investigation process they retrieved videos of about 60 to 70 people who were blackmailed.

They also said that they have sent cases involving 10 persons to the PG, concerning the content of videos obtained. Police did not reveal the details of those charged.

Speaking at the press briefing, Superintendent of Police Mohamed Riyaz said that police did not reveal the details because the case concerned a lot of people and there remained “certain things” that still needed to be checked before revealing their identities.

Police earlier told Minivan News that they would be revealing the details of those in the videos as the investigation progressed.

Superintendent Riyaz stated that the blackmailers used two Facebook accounts to blackmail the victims and had acquired large sums of money in the process, transferred it using a shop in Male to a shop in Addu City.

Two Facebook profiles identified at the time as being involved in the ring where those belonging to ‘Lyshiaa Limanom’ and ‘Angelic Sharrown’. Both of these profiles show the same picture of a young blonde woman wearing sunglasses, and each profile had between 1200-1300 Facebook ‘friends’ – most of them Maldivian.

Riyaz also said that the blackmailers had also collected money by personally contacting the victims.

“[Before taking money] they first checked the financial capacity of the person. They took large sums of money from some people while collected money from others on a monthly basis for a very long period,” he said.

Riyaz did not reveal the details of exactly how much money that was laundered.

During the investigation, police questioned several officials from the former government including officials of state minister level.

Local newspaper Haveeru reported that the investigation was halted following pressure from the former government, and the investigations resumed following the controversial transfer of power which toppled the government of then President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7, 2012.

Following the arrests made on February last year, police in a statement said they had begun investigations after the issue came to light two months back.

“Police conducted a special operation from February 13-20, 2011 in an effort to stop this crime and present the criminals before the court,” read the statement.

Police at the time said 10 of the 14 alleged perpetrators were arrested in Addu City while four of them, including a 17 year old minor, were caught in Male’. According to police all persons arrested in Addu City were between the ages of 21-26.

Police stated that they discovered “hundreds of nude pictures and videos of Maldivians” in the laptops and external hard drives of those arrested.

“While some of the pictures were taken of people while drunk, other pictures were taken without the consent of the person,” police said.

Police also stated that they had noticed that some people in the videos were performing explicit acts in the presence of minors, and warned that this “could affect the future and discipline of the minors”.

Police questioning Haveeru journalists

During the investigations, police questioned two journalists from local newspaper Haveeru following an article they published on the blackmailing ring.

Haveeru in the article interviewed a person who claimed to have seen some of the material, who said that MPs belonging to both the opposition and the ruling party had fallen for the scam, as well as prominent businessmen and “national figures”.

Haveeru journalists Ahmed Hamdhoon and Ismail Naseer volunteered to take part in police questioning about an article published by Haveeru on February 22 concerning the content of images acquired through Facebook. The paper maintained that it did not have any of the files that were in question.

Haveeru Editor Moosa Latheef told Minivan News at the time that although police had acted politely and without aggression in requesting the identity of the sources said to have viewed the indecent images – a request he said was denied just as politely – the case could have serious ramifications for the national media in the future.

Latheef stressed particular concern that should police repeat their conduct of looking to question journalists about their sources or stories.

“We are very much enjoying the press freedom in the Maldives right now. But I’m afraid that if the police or other institutions try to interfere with our [press] freedom then they will create an atmosphere where we are unable to fulfill our responsibilities,” he said. “If this repeats then we could have journalists who are afraid to write about issues. No one wants to go to the courts to defend himself or herself [over stories].”

Latheef said that in general, it could become very easy to begin such a case by accusing a journalist – or anyone – of having illegal content such as pornographic images on their computer. Yet on a wider level, the editor was wary about police being able to gain access to the computer files of the country’s journalists and their contents that could include confidential sources vital to break stories.

While the paper’s editor accepted that there were situations such as national security issues that could warrant a court to request the identity of a journalist’s source against commonly held industry ethics, he claimed such requests should remain very rare cases.

Latheef said that the Facebook bribery allegations were a story not about an issue of national security, but one concerning prominent members of the government, parliament and the judiciary, which paled in consequence to some of the stories he said Haveeru has previously published.

Police at the time also obtained a court order to search the computers of some Haveeru staff.

However, police officials later said they ultimately opted not to conduct a search on Haveeru’s premises, but that the questioning of the journalists involved was important to an ongoing investigation.

“Attack on free media”

Following the questioning, Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) condemned the police actions describing the actions as a step to suppress free media in the country.

MJA President Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir said at the time that the action taken by police in questioning Haveeru’s Ahmed Hamdhoon and Ismail Naseer was unprecedented under the current constitution.

A media officer for the Maldives Police Service following the events said at the time that they were unable to confirm what sort of questions the journalists were asked and if they may be called in for further questioning at a later date.

However, Zahir at the MJA questioned why the police needed to summon the journalists about a story and images already thought to be in the public domain.

“I don’t think this was simply a case of police asking journalists to help them with an enquiry,” he said. “I personally believe it is an attempt to censor and suppress the Maldives media, which has been free.”

The case became a subject of intense political debate and conspiracy against the former government of President Mohamed Nasheed where then opposition figures accused his government of trying to cover up the blunders of his party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists who were unfit for top government posts.

Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), an opposition party at the time sent a letter to the President’s Office, calling the President Nasheed to remove government officials involved in the case from their posts “or if you do not remove them from their posts it will be taken as meaning that you are supporting such activities.”

The DQP called on the government to take action against those involved “as soon as possible.”

However, former Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair brushed off the allegations stating that none of the events reportedly depict “would have taken place inside the President’s office.”

“We don’t have Facebook, MSN or any other social networks on any computer of the President’s Office,” Zuhair said. “It is nothing to do with the government or the president,” he responded.

Several blogs at the time speculated on the names of those caught up in the scandal, but police did not confirm the identities of those compromised.

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41 thoughts on “Nine people to face charges over ‘honeytrap’ nude photo blackmailing scam”

  1. One of the accounts is still open:

    http://www.facebook.com/sharrru?ref=ts

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  2. All my friends did a good job. There are photos of Abdhulla Ghaazee being naked as well . LOL

    halyl from DhiTV was very desperate too no matter how much he denied it was not him. I was hoping his wife to see the clips. That's just couple guys, there are names you will never imagine will go naked on a webcam and try to have "cyber sex" because there wife's were not "co-operating" as the chat logs says. And most of them were very RELIGIOUS too.

    Imagine if the clips they had were of MDP officials ? then the first thing they will do is publicized all the clips and blame them for insulting religion and will not reveal information about those who were behind it.

    All this because all of the clips they had were of the TRAITORS!

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  3. Western liberalism is the only way to go in this modern day and age,
    Even if Nasheed is on the right track in terms of ideals in terms of getting rid of the extremely retarded constitution of the Maldies, some MDP followers still believe in "Islam", LOL

    But can't blame them, because youd need people educated in Europe (such as myself), to implement culture

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  4. The above comment is from kutti Nasheed.

    I didn't get educated in Europe for your infor.

    And you see I told you its easy to determine your comments.

    can minivan please give access to only one name for each email address please.

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  5. check the difference in English. I do not have impeccable english in writing and grammer. I am not that good.

    Kutti Nasheed its no any other than you !!! Don't use my initials to comment here and create hatred !!!

    MINIVANNEWS STOP HIM !!

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  6. I'm having a split personality disease.
    I'm also among those caught in the webcam scandle. Lots of my MDP friends are also caught in that.

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  7. Any lawyers there? I don't understand the following

    a) why the 9 people face charges. Under what law? What if they were providing a service on a consensual (no pun) basis.
    b) what are only 9 people reveled while about 20 people were involved in it. Are the rest from political parties?
    c) the real culprits are those who got themselves naked. And why are the police not exposing them again - they have done it voluntarily. What happened to Islam this time?

    d) what are the laws being used. Is there a cyber law? Could some be prosecuted for merely having internet access because it can induce some people take off their clothes?

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  8. It's funny how polarised the whole political thing is, as if it's Annis gang vs everyone else.

    It's not. It's the people of the Maldives vs the dictators regime. The supporters of the dictator are the same people who were content to live in fear for 30 years.

    It doesn't matter if it's MDP, Anni or someone else. The dictators regime is still alive and well and as long as they do people will continue to rise up and defy them.

    The attitude of the police towards the press is not surprising. We mustn't forget that most of the police used to be military and most of whom were more than happy to do whatever the dictator wanted.

    Try and call Anni a dictator as much as you want but it's not going to erase Maumoon's atrocities or the culture of control and fear he's left behind.

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  9. I have always said that Maldivian men are the least attractive in the world and the mugshots of the blackmailers above prove my point. You guys really look like a bunch of scary neanderthals.....short, fat, dark, physically unattractive and with the sex appeal of monsoon toads.
    Seriously, have you considered marrying foreigners to improve your gene pool?.....this will have two main benefits.....firstly your IQ level will rise to near Indian levels and secondly you will lose the scary 'caveman' looks in time.....please, please, please don't marry Indians and downgrade our own superior gene pool however.
    Call me an evil hindu bitch.....but it seems your allah created you on one of his off days.

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  10. I have heard that in one of the videos there was sexual misconduct in front of a child in which case such a person must be prosecuted. But I wonder how the rest of the videos can be prosecuted , because what was done was between angelic and his lover is a private matter . As far as blackmailing that is another ball game .dont you think

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  11. Too bad you are Indian, Miss India..if you would have been a full blooded European, you would have made a great assistant to Hitler in maintaining 'superior' gene pools.

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  12. Miss India- Looks like you are blind women; probably you have not seen your own image on mirror. I don’t think anyone will ever think to crossbreed with your gene pool to increase IQ or physical greatness. Indians are most physically disabled people who inbreed as close as uncles and produce people with recessive genetic disorders, face deafness and blind. The Indians are most hairy people in the world, if you visit a beach where Indians are exposed, you will have an image of gorillas. If you talk about Indian IQ, Indians has no IQ they have instinct, who urinate on the street like any animal. Don’t ever be mislead by world media that India is growing economy and is advanced in medicine and technology. You can judge Indian doctors with their belief; your doctors sully their faces with cow dung, you have commercial to promote superstition and almost every Indian believe this. If Your IQ is so good, why the huge part of your population is starving? In terms of population size India performs worse at Olympics. You have proved yourself Indian standard in IQ who even don’t know who Indian are. Due to protein deficiency all Indian have symptom of cachexia so you can imagine how sexually appeal the Indian are.

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  13. I endorse Nasheed more if it was humanely possible, id look into it after my bachelors in a Tassie,
    plus a shout out to George Carlin,
    In the name of the spirit of humanity and progress, my words here may not do justice for my exceptional talents, at all forms of art and speaking,
    My words shall one day inspire many generations to come,

    In the end life has little or no meaning to it. All our actions and decisions have minimal sway on the course of action in the grander scheme of things.

    Lets just enjoy life, ill do the same in my very next Iowaska/Ibogaine trip in the following few months,

    LOL

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  14. lol, freedom of expression eh?
    if you are too butt-hurt to post a commment, (which had nothing offensive on it)
    the ice you are standing on is thinning out

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  15. Angelic Sharrow and Liusha are now cyber legends in Maldives.

    They are part of the national myth.

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  16. All the India / Maldives hate in the comments is ridiculous. How can you all be so xenophobic?

    LOL(s?) - You people get creepier by the second.

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  17. TO kutti nasheed using LOL: You are such a coward to use LOL and comment here. And use my ideology to create hatred. Yes im a non believer. but I have never mentioned or use the religion to force others or making others not to believe. Believing or not should be within them. If they do then they do, if they don't it doesn't matter!!! but you seems to be taking advantage and again spreading your propaganda here!! Yes you are on the list too of the webcam scandal. And I will eventually find the clip and I will release it everyway you are. especially your wife will watch it first. Anybody could guess why this news is heating you up so much !!

    You still have no idea who I am. I will keep on releasing what ever information I find about you Kutti Nasheed. Stop using LOL to comment here. and I am Hana Amir or whatever you think I am. You will not find out who I am.

    YOU ARE SO MUCH GONNA REGRET DOINH THIS!!

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  18. These boys operated under the instruction of MP Jagiya Nazim. There are sex tapes of MBC president Badhuru Naseer, VTV CEO Ibrahim Khaleel, MP Afrasheem Ali. I guess they'll all go free.

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  19. Nasheed for Emperor

    I have such hilariously extreme delusions of grandeur, that I called someone uneducated for not taking something George Carlin had to say seriously,

    I am so darn amazing that someone had taken what I said so seriously that that person is willing to patiently wait a fairly long time, awaiting a proper moment to bury my filthy buccal cavity under his boot, LOL, (strictly metaphorically speaking,perhaps)

    Nasheed for emperor
    LOL/LLO/OLL/Hani

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  20. Who are you calling creepy? (you just cant take a bit of split personality :P)

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  21. hey, am guessing all the politicians were from MDP because if it wasn't then it would have been released to the public the second it was caught and before that.
    MDP; the gamaaru bunch of ignorants kekeke

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  22. Ah, the national shame of it all, being caught without our knickers on.

    But wait... doesn't that happen every day these days?

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  23. @ Anbary
    I couldn't understand a word you were saying because of your poor english language skills.....which dumbass school did you go to?
    You need to go back to school.....a proper school with Indian teachers that is.....and when your english language skills have improved, comment here again.
    I am sure there are many Dhivehi language websites where you can vent your frustrations and anger against Indians.
    We are bigger.....we are better.....get used to this moron.

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  24. My view about you was posted in a comment today but minivan never published the comment so you can imagine why they didn't published the comments.

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  25. @ MissIndia
    Damn Woman!! I guess you should get out more often dear. What you see in these hollywood movies aint Indian..Try Kollywood..LOL..

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  26. @MissIndian
    Come on you crazy monkey worshiper, If you don’t understand what I have written. You go to one of your best scientists to get it translated. When you realized I have put a real bombshell on your monkey brain, you are trying to outsmart by ranting your filthy mouth. Don’t underestimate your opponents, I can teach English to your sissy crazy turban Prime Minister guy.

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  27. I think everybody should check out the Scam Detector app. I believe they're online as well.

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  28. What a pity.....not only do you retards look like extras from the set of a horror movie.....you also have very poor english language skills as shown in the comments above.
    This is not surprising in a country that does not have a single university.

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  29. MissCrazy India
    Miss india is suffering from inferiority complex. And the only people she can vent her anger is the world’s smallest country. If this monkey worshiper has any human quality why would she be so upset about what people of Maldives are saying, this mad animal is comparing it’s great nation with Zero on the face of earth. Get life crazy Indian, this show your status in the world. We feel sorry for you that you got only us to show your greatness and your English skill. Go and challenge with great nations and see who you are. Bloody infestation of human rubbish on a vast land area that destroying our planet…..

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  30. @ Anbary
    Anbary you really should not be commenting here because your english language skills are so poor. If I was your english teacher, I would FAIL you in english.....vocabulary 5/100 marks and grammar 5/100 marks.....and ask you to repeat the whole year.
    You really need to get yourself a good Indian teacher. The gobbledegook you write is some some alien language I would call Maldivian English.
    So its back to school for you sunshine.

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  31. @ MissIndia
    You think everybodys english language isnt good coz ur english sucks and you cant undrstand a word what others are writing..
    But worry not my friend. I got the best solution for ya.

    GOOGLE TRANSLATOR. Translate english into Tamil,Mallu and wotever funny language you are using..ROFL

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  32. Smh to this stuck up Indian chick actin a fool. Makin me laugh my butt off over here. Woman please... You ain't superior to nobody.

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