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For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Ajman: Ajman police arrested a man who blackmailed a girl with intimate pictures he obtained from a WhatsApp group he accidentally became part of, an official said yesterday.

Lt Colonel Yehia Al Matroushi, director of Al Hamediya police station in Ajman, said the 22-year-old Asian suspect sent an intimate picture of the Arab girl with him standing beside her after doctoring a photograph using a computer programme.

The suspect, identified as A.M., then blackmailed the girl for money and threatened to publish the pictures if she refused to pay him.

“The girl said that a friend added her to a WhatsApp group of Arab girls to arrange a trip to a park in Ajman. They also exchanged pictures after the trip. Later the girl received a message with a modified picture that had the suspect standing beside her. He asked for money in order not to publish the pictures,” Lt Col Al Matroushi said.

The girls in the WhatsApp group checked the mobile numbers of its members and discovered that the suspect was using a number that had been allotted to one of their friends earlier and which was mistakenly added to the group.

“The phone number of the suspect belonged to a female friend who had changed her number a year earlier. The girl came to the police station and lodged a case against the stranger.”

Ajman police apprehended the suspect who confessed that the phone number belonged to him and that he changed the pictures to add his image. The case has been referred to Public Prosecution.

Lt Col Al Matroushi urged the public to be cautious while sharing pictures on social media platforms.

“The public should be careful before sending their pictures on social media. Victims shouldn’t hesitate to alert the police if their privacy has been breached,” Lt Col Al Matroushi added.