File photo: Saudis take selfies outside a stadium where the first women's basketball tournament was held. Image Credit: Okaz

Manama: High school girls make up 41 per cent of blackmail victims in Saudi Arabia, the head of the commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has said.

“The overwhelming majority of those who are targeted in blackmail cases are aged between 16 and 30,” Shaikh Abdul Rahman Bin Abdullah Al Sanad said.

“In fact, they represent 85 per cent of all cases. We reiterate our warning against illicit relationships and the need to be extra vigilant when dealing with sites that seemingly promote marriages and employment opportunities," he said in remarks published by Saudi news site Al Marsad on Monday.

"Users must avoid sending personal details that could be used against them,” he added. 

According to the figures compiled by the anti-blackmail unit with the Commission, 74 per cent of the cases involve people seeking sex while 14 per cent involve extortion.

“Fortunately, in around 99 per cent of the cases, the blackmailer does not get what he or she asks,” he said.

Both men and women are involved in the attempts to manipulate victims, Al Sanad added.

In 57 per cent of the cases, social media applications were used by blackmailers to try to force their victims to provide sexual favours or to extort cash from them.