Australian Federal Police (AFP) have arrested a 25-year-old Nepali student studying in Adelaide. He is accused of threatening his ex-girlfriend with sharing intimate photographs taken while they were in relationship.
The Nepali student moved to Australia from the United Kingdom on a two-year student visa following his break-up with the victim, reports indicated. The man repeatedly threatened her that he would upload their private videos and photos onto social media.
The accused even rang the ex-girlfriend’s husband and showed him some screenshots of the intimate videos, the Adelaide Magistrates Court heard.
Police have seized his electronic devices for forensic examination following his arrest yesterday. The Nepali student has been charged with one count of aggravated use of a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offense involving the distribution of private sexual material, contrary to section 474.17A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum punishment for the offense he committed is five years imprisonment.
The accused man and his ex-girlfriend were in an intimate relationship in the UK. After a breakup, she got married to another man and the boy came into Australia on a student visa. Later, he started to threaten his ex that made her distressed Commonwealth prosecutor Bonnie Russell told the court.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions opposed bail of any kind as the Nepali student could access the internet and upload those videos and photos on social media as he threatens to do so.
AFP Superintendent, Crime Operations South Australia, Gail McClure said the Nepali student told his ex-girlfriend that police would not be able to prosecute him because he was not an Australian citizen and she was living in a different country.
“This case shows it does not matter where you live, the AFP is uniquely positioned with officers based around the world and with strong international networks, to investigate and prosecute crimes conducted across international borders,” Supt McClure said.
The Australian Police investigated the issue after they receive a referral from United Kingdom authorities.
It’s a Sextortion & you will get help
Threatening someone on the base of intimate photos and videos is called ‘Sextortion’ and ‘image-based sexual abuse’ or ‘revenge porn’. These types of cases are investigated by state and territory police in Australia and may apply the Commonwealth legislation or state’s relevant legislation.
Sextortion is a form of blackmail someone threatens to share intimate images of you online to make you fulfill their demands. Generally, they demand money, more intimate images or videos, sexual favors. Some make it as revenge or as an effort to embarrass or humiliate you.
“Online threats of this nature can be devastating for victims, and the AFP encourages people who fall victim to these despicable acts to report the matter to police,” she said.
“Our message to people in this situation is that nothing is so bad that you can’t tell someone. While it can be a complex and difficult situation, we want to reassure you that it is not your fault and there is help available.” Supt McClure said fear, coercion, and manipulation keep the crime going.
Photo and video-based abuse especially the sexual one can cause permanent hard. To help with this situation there is a couple of agencies working in Australia with police and law enforcement agencies. eSafety has helped more than 1700 victims and have their intimate images removed from the internet since 2017.