Police probe Telegram groups, Tumblr pages sharing obscene images of Singapore women, girls
SINGAPORE — The police are looking into a number of Telegram groups and pages on blogging site Tumblr in which members exchange obscene images and videos of Singapore girls and women.
- Anyone convicted of sharing obscene material online may be jailed for up to three months or fined, or both
- A blogger wrote that she knew of a Telegram chat group with 4,000 members sharing videos and photos of Singapore women
- She said some women did not report such activity as they feared their images would be leaked or used for blackmail
SINGAPORE — The police are looking into a number of Telegram chat groups and pages on blogging site Tumblr in which members exchange obscene images and videos of Singapore girls and women.
When contacted, the police on Wednesday (June 16) confirmed that they are looking into the matter but declined to say how many of these groups and pages are the subject of their inquiries.
Blogger Coco Ong, 28, told TODAY that she has filed a police report on the groups and knows of other women who have also done so.
In a blog post on Monday, she wrote that she is aware of at least one Telegram group with more than 4,000 members where more than 12,000 obscene photos and 3,400 videos of girls and women in Singapore are being shared without their permission.
Ms Ong, who is a marketer in the financial technology sector, also alleged that she had been blackmailed by an anonymous individual who threatened to leak an obscene video that purportedly featured her. But Ms Ong later confirmed that the woman in the video was not her.
Ms Ong told TODAY that the Telegram group she knew of is still active but with privacy features set to the maximum so that content can no longer be accessed by those outside the group.
“Some members of the group have also recently shared new links to another group that consists of more than 40,000 members, but the content is not accessible and we have no idea if this new group has similar content or if it is even based in Singapore.”
Ms Ong added that some of the victims who reached out to her said that they did not file police reports and are reluctant to join others who are calling out the groups.
“This is understandable as they don’t want people to know that their nudes are out there somewhere in case they get blackmailed or leaked again,” she said.
However, she stressed that this is part of the reason why the groups can remain active, since many of the victims are too scared to go to the police with the information they have.
When asked if she is aware that some of the groups may have changed their names to evade being caught, Ms Ong said: “It is very easy to change their usernames and delete their accounts… This whole issue is much bigger than just one Telegram group sharing or selling nudes. They are everywhere, even on Tumblr, if you go look for them or are connected enough.”
In response to TODAY’s queries, the police advised members of the public that the circulation of obscene materials is an offence under Section 292 of the Penal Code.
If found guilty, perpetrators can be jailed for up to three months or fined, or both.
Ms Ong said that the increased publicity and exposure would lead to a “hydra effect” where more groups are created, instead of caught. She was referring to the Greek legend where two heads appear when one is cut off.
“By addressing and sharing more about the Telegram groups, we are helping culprits to know what to be careful of and how to be even more cautious moving forward.”
That is why she said that more education is needed so that members of the public who fall victim to the groups will know how to take evidence that they have directly to the police.
Anyone with information may call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or file a police report on their website.
All information will be kept strictly confidential, the police said.