PETALING JAYA: Youngsters indulging in online multiplayer videogames are being targeted by paedophiles and sexual predators.
Such platforms have become a hunting ground for them as they are able to hide behind fake accounts.
They would approach their target as one of the players to gain the victim’s trust.
These culprits would join hands with the kids on their “battle”, while some would try to win over the youngsters by offering them “diamonds”, a gift that the gamers could use to buy more “hero” characters or costumes for their avatars.
The predators would also manipulate them into sending nude photos or videos, claiming that their account would be banned or prevented from being upgraded to another level should they refuse to do so.
This worrying trend is acknowledged by Bukit Aman CID D11 assistant director Asst Comm Siti Kamsiah Hassan in an interview with Majoriti, a Bahasa Malaysia portal.
She said police had received reports of children being blackmailed by sexual predators on multiplayer gaming platforms.
“Most of the victims are boys,” she said, adding that the paedophiles would lure them with a “top-up” provided the kid gave them a picture of their genitals.
The paedophiles would eventually make more demands.
“The boy would get scared, so he would inform his parents who would then lodge a police report,” she said, adding that such cases are investigated under non-physical sexual offences.
Sharing her experience as a streamer, Hidayah Woon Yin Yin, said she often received personal messages from strangers inviting her for sex video calls.
“I will get a message asking me to do VCSEX (sex video call), but usually I will block and ignore them.
“I will get two or three messages like that in a month, sometimes more than that,” she said.
Hidayah said some of them would offer “diamonds” or “skins” (costumes for avatars) if they send pornographic videos.
“It’s annoying when I get messages like this, so usually I will change my profile picture and name,” she said.
Hidayah, 25, said some of the players would use the open chatrooms provided in the video games to talk about obscene and pornographic stuff.
“Their conversations get more disgusting at night,” she added.
In a joint operation that concluded in September, Malaysian and Australian police managed to track down one of the world’s most wanted paedophiles, Alladin Lanim, who had been operating under the radar for at least 14 years.
His modus operandi included cruising cybercafes and enticing children with game tokens for their videogames before taking them behind the shops, where he would sexually abuse the boys who were usually between six and 12 years old, Malaysian police said.
Alladin was finally sentenced to a total of 18 and a half years’ jail and 15 strokes of the rotan.