By Dayaratna Pathirana
A suspect had been taken into custody by police for having befriended lasses through social media networks ‘Facebook’ and ‘Skype’,
lured them to guest houses and taken photos in nudity and video filmed them and later extorted money from them.
When the suspect was produced before the Panadura Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatte on Monday was remanded until October 28. The Magistrate while sending the suspect to the remand said that this was a matter of extreme seriousness that requires a comprehensive investigation and said he was not willing to consider granting him bail.
The suspect was Thimira Fernando (22) of Thalpitiya Gardenia Village in Panadura and believed to be an employee of a tourist resort.
The CID informed court that the suspect was arrested on last 18th on a tip off received by them. The police had examined the data on his mobile phone, laptop computer, SIM cards and Pen Drives, and investigations revealed that the suspect had befriended young women of ages from 18 to 20 and pretending to be in love had accompanied them to guest houses and taken nude photos and video-filmed them and later contact and threaten them with the photos and video would be sent virally and extorted money.
Police had recorded statements from two of the victims. In addition, the police were able to restore some of the nude images that were deleted by the suspect from his computer and from the Pen drives through the assistance of the computer research division of the Colombo University.
The suspect had confessed to having communicated with more than 30 young women through the social media and after building up a close relationship, lured them to places and photographed them in nude. Police having considered the activities of the suspect seriously believes that there may be other accomplices to this crime.
The Police requested the suspect be remanded as investigations were incomplete. Police also informed Courts that there were eight DVDs belonging to the suspect that provide evidence to having indulged in sex with some of these women.