Zero tolerance for blackmail

Stop the Evil

Haia warns Saudi women against Web pitfalls

Seventy four percent of the men who blackmail women seek sexual favors, according to the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia).

Fourteen percent do so for financial gain, with 12 percent making other demands. Seventy-six percent of the perpetrators are unmarried while 20 percent are married, said Abdulrahman Al-Sanad, the Haia chief, in his presentation at the International Computer Crime Conference in the capital that concluded Thursday.

Al-Sanad said 33 percent of the victims are between 21 and 25 years of age, 32 percent between 16 and 20, 20 percent between 26 and 30, 4 percent between 30 and 36, and 2 percent aged 15 and under. He said victims were largely single women at 58 percent, married women 26 percent, divorced women 8 percent, engaged women 7 percent and widows at 1 percent.

In terms of education, 41 percent completed secondary school, 40 percent graduated from university, 6 percent completed intermediate school, 4 percent primary school, and 1 percent had postgraduate qualifications.

Twenty-two percent of the relationships start with contact on social media websites, 21 percent though smartphone applications, and others through flirting, making wrong phone calls, marriage websites and dream interpreters.

Al-Sanad said blackmail in the Kingdom normally involves perpetrators getting information or personal photographs of their victims, and then threatening to publish them on the Internet or informing their families if the women do not comply with their demands.

He said blackmail is classified internationally as a crime with heavy penalties. The most severe penalties are for those who seek sexual favors, money or employment. Blackmailers face tough penalties in the Kingdom including up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to SR5 million, he said.

Al-Sanad said men and women can be perpetrators and victims of such crimes. The Haia’s role is to tackle these types of offenses in all its manifestations, alongside other crime-fighting agencies in the country.

The Haia has been able to build a great deal of trust in the community because of the manner in which it has been dealing with the victims of these crimes, which includes protecting their dignity, privacy and other rights, he said.


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