Pose and prey

SINGAPORE - Construction worker Mani Velmurugan posed as a Caucasian man on an online live chat website, Badoo, and managed to dupe 17 women aged between 21 and 39 into giving him their personal details.

Calling himself "Adam Mark" or "Mark Adam", he used an image of a Caucasian man as his profile picture to appear more convincing.

The Indian national, 28, then claimed that he came from either England or Canada.

He then convinced most of the women into giving him their nude pictures.

Between May and August last year, he threatened to post the women's details and pictures online if they did not have sexual intercourse with him.

Mani was jailed for 32 months yesterday after pleading guilty to nine counts of criminal intimidation.

Eight other similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

VICTIM 1

The pair got acquainted on July 30 last year.

Four days later, Mani sent her nude pictures of a Caucasian man, claiming that they were photos of himself.

She sent him nude pictures of her as he requested.

He later told her that he had an "Indian friend" who was good in bed and asked her if she was interested in having sex with the friend.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sheryl Janet George said the woman was not interested in meeting the friend.

On Aug 9 last year, Mani, while still pretending to be the Caucasian man, sent her a message through a chat app stating that he wanted to meet her for breakfast in Chinatown before going to a hotel for sex.

However, the woman wanted to meet him only for breakfast. When she got there, she did not see any Caucasian-looking man.

Mani later sent her a message, telling her that his "Indian friend" was waiting for her in Chinatown and that she should have sex with him.

He threatened to post her details and nude pictures online if she refused.

Alarmed, the woman agreed. She realised only later that the Caucasian man she had been communicating with was actually the Indian national.

Out of fear, she followed Mani to a Hotel 81 at Lorong 8 Geylang, where she reluctantly had unprotected sex with him either four or five times.

DPP George said the woman deleted her nude pictures from Mani's mobile phone after the first sexual intercourse.

Following this encounter, he sent her a text message and it came attached with one of her nude photographs.

The woman felt threatened after she found out that he still had her nude pictures and informed the police.

VICTIM 2

Mani got to know an assistant branch manager of a food and beverage outlet sometime in April last year.

A month later, he asked the woman for her identity card photos and nude pictures.

After sending him only her IC photo, he said he was going on a business trip to China and wanted her to accompany him.

Because of this, he asked her to send him a picture of her passport details and she complied.

The trip did not materialise and he wanted to meet her on May 23.

When she refused, Mani threatened to post her personal information online. The woman became suspicious and questioned him.

On hearing this, he said that he was a Malay police officer and told her that the authorities would not help her.

When she refused to believe him, Mani changed his identity yet again, this time, claiming to be a Nigerian man. He even sent her a picture to support his lies.

Not convinced, the woman phoned him and found out that she had been communicating with a South Asian man.

During this conversation, Mani told her that he would delete her personal information if she met up with him.

The pair met at 7pm that day and they checked into a Hotel 81 branch in Chinatown and had sexual intercourse.

After that, the woman got hold of his mobile phone and deleted all of her photographs and personal data from it.

But her nightmare was not over yet.

On June 15, Mani sent the woman a message, stating that if she did not meet him or send him money, he would go to her parents' home to tell them that their daughter was sexually promiscuous.

He also claimed that he had recorded a video of them having sex and would post it online if his demands were not met.

The court heard that the woman finally decided to make a police report after this.

MARRIED WITH KIDS

Mani's lawyer, Mr Noor Mohamed Marican, told District Judge Eddy Tham that his client is the sole breadwinner for his family in India.

He is married with three children between two and eight years old.

The lawyer added that although Mani had threatened to show the nude pictures online, he did not carry out the threat.

The judge however, felt that a harsh sentence was needed to deter others from committing a similar offence.

For each count of criminal intimidation, Mani could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined.

HIS FOUR OTHER VICTIMS

Indian national Mani Velmurugan, 28, tried different methods to dupe his other victims.

Here are four more examples of his perverse tactics.

Fortunately, these women did not give in to him.

Prey 1

Mani threatened to rape a catering sales executive if she did not meet up with him.

He had earlier told the woman that he needed her identification details for her access pass to the condominium where he supposedly lived.

She sent him a photo of her work permit and refused to send him nude pictures.

When she declined to meet him, he also claimed that he had edited her pictures on Badoo to show her in the nude and that he would post these doctored images online.

Prey 2

After receiving nude pictures from an office clerk, the Indian national, while pretending to be a Caucasian man, told her that she should meet up with his "Chinese friend" to have sexual intercourse at the Marina Bay Sands hotel.

When she refused, he sent her a message saying he was angry with her and threatened to post her nude pictures online.

Investigations revealed that this "Chinese friend" was none other than Mani himself.

Prey 3

Mani told an unemployed woman a fabricated story, claiming that he was in trouble as he had slept with a good friend's girlfriend.

As a form of revenge, this friend, who is an Indian man, was supposed to have sex with her.

The woman, who had earlier sent him her nude pictures, refused. She later received a Whatsapp message from an overseas number which was later traced to Mani. He pretended to be the "friend" and threatened to post all her nude pictures online if she did not submit to this request.

Prey 4

Pretending to offer her a job, Mani asked a waitress to send him videos and pictures of her in the nude.

She complied as she thought he had a job for her.

He later sent the woman text messages asking her to meet up with him, but she ignored them.

Following these, Mani threatened to post her videos and pictures online if his demands were not met.

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg


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