Man gets two-year jail in first ‘sextortion’ case

National 3 minutes, 11 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A LOCAL man at the centre of Brunei’s first “sextortion” case was sentenced to two years imprisonment with two whippings yesterday, following his guilty plea over two counts of extorting victims while pretending to be a woman on a popular instant messaging application.

Adie Norfaizal Mohammad, 28, was posing as the fictitious Fiqah on Wechat when he was engaged in contact with the first victim, revealed court documents tendered by Deputy Public Prosecutor Dk Didi-Nuraza Pg Hj Abdul Latiff.

Over a period of five months, the defendant and Mr X exchanged nude pictures on several occasions. Sometime in April 2014, Fiqah threatened to upload the victim’s nude pictures on the Facebook social network if he did not hand over $5,000 in cash and an iPhone.

Mr X, fearing that his reputation would be ruined, immediately lodged a police report leading to the discovery of Fiqah’s real identity.

During investigations, Adie Norfaizal admitted to pretending to be a female by the name of Fiqah in order to extort money from potential victims including Mr X. The defendant also admitted to sending nude pictures of unknown women taken from Google searches.

He also uploaded Mr X’s nude pictures on Facebook after his demands were not met. However, it wasn’t long before he decided to delete the account together with the pictures.

The defendant also admitted to extorting another victim through the fictitious moniker, Fiqah, sometime in December 2013 through Wechat. They were in contact for about four months during which they exchanged nude pictures.

On April 12, 2014, at about 2am, Fiqah threatened to upload Mr Y’s nude pictures on Facebook if he did not turn over $3,000 in cash.

The victim was worried about the injury to his reputation and immediately lodged a police report. At around 6.30pm that day, Mr Y set up a meeting with Fiqah on the pretext that he would be paying the $3,000 in cash.

Fiqah instructed him to leave the money inside a flower pot in the vicinity of a house at the Landless Indigenous Citizens Housing Scheme Area (STKRJ) Rimba, Tungku.

Before heading to the location, Mr Y tipped off the police about the meeting. The victim, who stayed hidden in his vehicle to find out Fiqah’s true identity, told her on Wechat the he had left the cash in the flower pot. However, he did not bring cash and merely pretended to fall for the extortion.

As he waited inside the vehicle, Mr Y saw a man approaching the flower pot then running towards a nearby house.

The police soon arrived and found the defendant at the said house. Adie Norfaizal was immediately brought to the police station for investigations. He admitted to police that he was posing as Fiqah whilst chatting with the second victim over the course of four months.

He also admitted to searching on Google for pictures of nude women to convince Mr Y that he was a female.

Adie Norfaizal, who initially claimed trial to both offences before changing his plea to guilty, was sentenced by Chief Magistrate Muhd Faisal PDJLD DSP Hj Kefli to two years imprisonment and a whipping for each offence under Section 384 of the Penal Code, Chapter 22.

The chief magistrate ordered for the imprisonment sentences to run concurrently, but the whipping to be cumulative, resulting in a total sentence of two years and two strokes.

In a statement, the Attorney General’s Chambers reminded the public to be wary of strangers who make contact via instant messaging applications such as Wechat and be cautious of falling victim to extortion, which may negatively affect their well-being and reputation.

The court also ordered for all the obscene material and mobile phone used in the commission of the offence, belonging to the defendant, to be forfeited to the state.

The Brunei Times