Gay men who seek companionship online frequently fall victim to extortionists and blackmailers, especially in homophobic countries and especially in Africa. Police rarely intervene, and sometimes they’re partners in the schemes. A recent incident in Ghana was an exception.
Police in Accra, the capital of Ghana, arrested two men for blackmailing a man for 1,000 cedi (about US $240). The blackmailers threatened to publish naked photos of him if he did not pay.
After being stripped, photographed naked and released on April 1, the unidentified victim reported the blackmail attempt to police. They arrested two men who apparently went to the drop-off location to get the victim’s money.
The following article on GhanaWeb and Graphic.com.gh mentions that the victim originally made contact through Grindr, but does not mention that Grindr is a gay hookup site. (Commenters on GhanaWeb, however, noted that fact, and some of them proclaimed that the victim therefore should have been arrested instead of the alleged blackmailers.)
Police grab two for forcing man to strip naked
For compelling a man to strip naked and taking pictures of him against his wish, two men, who allegedly subjected the victim to such an abuse, have been busted by the police.
The two men, Torsu Stephen, 23, a caddy, and Aikins Atitsogbe, 21, a mobile money shop attendant, and four others are said to have lured the victim, who is a social worker, to their house and stripped him naked.
The four other suspects, identified only as Courage, Willie, Semanu and Dickson, are said to have taken a number of pictures of the victim after they had stripped him naked.
They also attempted to extort money from him.
Briefing journalists in Accra, the Tesano Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Ms Lydia Donkor, said one of the suspects, Torsu, met the victim on an internet dating platform known as Grindr.com.
After the two had established friendship, Torsu, on April 1, 2017, invited the victim to his house at Christian Village, near Achimota in Accra.
Around 3:30 p.m. on the same day, they two were said to have met at a point close to Torsu’s house from where he led the victim to his (Torsu) house and ushered him (victim) to his room.
A few minutes after, Aikins and the other four accomplices also entered the room and locked the door.
Ms Donkor said they stripped the victim naked and collected his Samsung mobile phone, a power bank and GH¢70 [about US $17] from his pocket.
The Divisional Police Commander said the victim was released four hours later, following his pleas.
After releasing him, she said they threatened to post the naked pictures on the internet, if he did not pay Gh¢1,000 [about US $240] to them.
The victim is said to have made a report to the police after which, with the assistance of the police, he called Torsu to meet him for the money.
Ms Donkor said the police there and then arrested Torsu and Aikins when they showed up for the money.
- Nigerian LGBT website fights blackmail (November 2016, 76crimes.com)