by Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star), 15 Jul 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Police apprehended 41 suspected members of a cybersex ring in separate operations in Valenzuela City and Batangas on Monday.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said agents of the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) raided the suspects’ offices in Barangay Paso de Blas in Valenzuela and in Lipa City and Sto. Tomas in Batangas.
Twenty-one were nabbed in Valenzuela and 20 in Batangas. The operations were covered by search warrants following reports about the group’s illegal activities.
Eleazar said the operations stemmed from the information posted by a concerned citizen through the PNPs E-ACCESS web portal regarding the activities of the suspects who posed as call center agents.
The suspects were victimizing LGBTQ members by offering massage services in exchange for registration fees using credit cards.
Col. Ramon Roque Gamboa, who heads the ACG’s Cyber Response Unit, said the suspects posed as young men and women based in the United States and on a dating site who would take at least $50 each as registration fees from the victims.
After the money is deducted from the victims’ credit cards, they are blocked from the dating site.
“The suspects are scattered all over luzon. Siguro mga 50 branches na itong mga ganitong modus operandi,” Gamboa said in a television interview.
Police said they seized from the suspects desktop computers, which will be subjected to digital forensic examination.
The suspects are being held on charges of violating Republic Act 9165 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.