Friday, August 17, 2007

When CyberLovers Committ Fraud, Rape or Murder

Reports are continuously emerging of cyber lovers being cheated, hurt or involved in scandals. Not only have marriages been ruined in real life, but more serious and dangerous situations have also arisen.

Sure, if you feel lonely, bored and you've got a computer at hand, cyber love may seem like a great means to kill time. According to a survey conducted by sina.com, which involved more than 17,000 Internet surfers, 69% of them had tried it. Another survey by sohu.com found that more than 50% of net surfers trust cyber love.

The most convenient place to talk with an online lover is a chat room. According to a survey by the Chinese Internet Culture Association, 97% of Internet surfers have tried communicating with others in chat rooms. And there are plenty of choices, with around 2,500 large-scale chat rooms available to Chinese surfers.

This month, netizens have been expressing their anger in a forum run by Netease, one of the most influential websites in China, about one of the forum's former administrators, whos net name was Kuaile Buyi (A Happy Plain Man). Apparently, he cheated some of the female forumites out of hundreds of thousands of yuan.

According to Hanqiong Diming (Cold Song of Crickets), one of the female victims, Kuaile Buyi was good at writing, a skill that helped him become an administrator on the Netease page in which he talked about feelings and love. Many women adored him.

After her marriage broke up, Hanqiong Diming found herself falling in love with Kuaile Buyi, and she believed that he loved her deeply. However, after they met at the beginning of 2004, he asked her to lend him 50,000 yuan, since his former girl friend was dying of cancer.

Hanqiong Diming was moved by his kindness and gave him the money. But then Kuaile Buyi disappeared and she didn't see him again. After that Hanqiong Diming realized she had been cheated.

In February this year, Hanqiong Diming posted her story in the Netease forum. She wasn't surprised when she found out that other female net surfers had had similar experience. One of them even lent Kuaile Buyi 150,000 yuan this March.

However, these female victims were unwilling to sue Kuaile Buyi, since most of them were married and could not face with such a big scandal.

Till now, Kuaile Buyi has not been found or punished.

"What he did damaged people's trust on the Internet, and hurt people's most beautiful feelings," said Sophiedream, a net surfer on Netease.

In fact, many people have had unfortunate experiences in relationships with cyber lovers, but not all of them were as unlucky as Kuaile Buyi's lovers.

"Last year, I dated a girl several times after meeting her in a chatroom," said Hongchen Jianghu (Dust and Rivers), a postgraduate student, "She was under 20 and told me she was a college student."

But the girl asked Hongchen Jianghu to lend her 2,000 yuan. He told her he would like to help her, but he was a poor student as well and so much money was totally beyond him. The girl immediately broke off with him.

"At that time, I felt my heart was broken, but it's better than having my wallet broken. Compared with the women who were cheated by Kuaile Buyi, I think I was lucky," said Hongchen Jianghu.

Lovers become rapists
On April 4, police in Chaohu, Anhui saved 18-year-old Cheng Anfang, a middle school student, from a local whorehouse. She was taken there by her cyber lover, "Handsome Man", two weeks before.

The two met in a chat room and started dating since March 20. Together with an accomplice, Handsome Man started feeding Cheng with sleeping pills. They took some naked photos of her and then raped her. After that, they took her to a whorehouse and forced her to prostitute herself.

There have been numerous cases of teenagers being taken advantage of in this way. In August last year, Beijing citizen Liu Lumin was sentenced to four years in prison for sexually abusing Weiwei, a 13-year-old girl.

Weiwei met Liu online in 2002. the 43-year-old man was considerate, humorous and passionate. Weiwei fell in love with him immediately and made love with him after their first date. After that, he took Weiwei out and continuously had sexual intercourse with her.

One time, Weiwei was away from her family for 40 days, during which Liu offered her drugs. It was only then that Weiwei began to regret her actions. She decided to sue Liu.

In court, Liu claimed that he did not know Weiwei was only 13, and he said everything that happened had been with both sides' consent. However, Weiwei's mother said in court that she had told Liu how old Weiwei was several times.

But teenagers are not only victims. Yang, an 18-year-old girl in Changsha, Hunan dated her cyber lover, "Hug You and Kiss You". After he suggested making love, she refused, so he raped her and stole her money.

When police traced "Hug You nd Kiss You" to a net cafe in Xiangtan on April 6, they found he was only 16 years old. He admitted that he had raped several other cyber lovers and taken their money as well. All the girls had been around 16¨C18 years old.

"Teenagers are easily influenced, and they do not have much social experience. Besides, many teenagers do not know how to protect their privacy on the Internet and they willingly give their personal information to strangers, such as true names, telephone numbers, schools and addresses. This makes it easy for them to become targets of criminals," said Zhang Xuemei, vice chief of Beijing Legal Aid and Research Center for Children.

"And of course, pornography and deviant pages on the Internet play a negative role here," said Zhang. Teenagers are not the only people who need to be educated about using the Internet. She suggested that parents and teachers should improve their knowledge about it as well, so they can be aware of what children and students are doing on the Internet."

Lovers become killers
On February 15, a man was found trying to commit suicide at his home in Wuhan. Afterwards, he admitted that he had killed his cyber lover the last eve on Valentine's Day.

The man, with the net name "lying Dust", got to know his cyber lover "Rain Drop", a 25-year-old flower store keeper, at the end of 2003. But Rain Drop's parents disapproved of her having such an intimate cyber relationship. So on Valentine's Day, she told Flying Dust that she had to break up with him. He flew into a rage and strangled her to death, and then tried to cut the arteries on his neck and wrists.

"I love her, I want to be with her forever," he said later, when asked why he had done it.

On Apri l7, a man's body was found in a hotel room in Dengshikou, Beijing. The man, called Zhang Yang, had been killed by his cyber lover, Liang Yixia, because he refused to marry her. Liang was arrested when she came back to get her mobile phone recharger.

According to Liang, in May 2003 she had been raped by three men she met on the Internet, and they also took her money. After that, Zhang, a seemingly gentle and rich man, renewed her trust in cyber love. But after they had sex, he told her that it was impossible for him to marry a cyber lover. Liang felt so humiliated that she fed him with sleeping pills and then strangled him with adhesive tape.

At the police station Liang said she felt no regret for what she had done. "He deserved this punishment I gave him," she said repeatedly.

"Surfing on the Internet and having cyber lovers are the same thing. Like in real life, sincerity, responsibility and self-discipline are needed. And you always have to be cautious and know how to protect yourself," he said.

Source: Xinhua (China)

(if you think this only happens in Asia, think again - these sorts of scenarios happen all over the world, the U.S. and Canada included! - Fighter)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

African Internet Bride Scam Victim Returns Home

A South Australian farmer held hostage in Africa for 12 days in an internet bride scam has returned home, saying he's lucky to be alive.
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Des Gregor, a 56-year-old from Hoyleton in SA's mid-north, arrived at Adelaide Airport tonight after being freed from his African captors who were ultimately duped by police.

Mr Gregor travelled to the landlocked west African nation of Mali last month to meet his supposed bride and collect a dowry of $100,000. (NZ $114,521) in gold.

But on his July 27 arrival, he was kidnapped by an organised scam gang, beaten, stripped, had his cash and credit cards taken, and was held hostage at an apartment in Bamako, the capital of the third world country.

The wheat and sheep farmer was told he would have his limbs hacked off with a machete unless he arranged a $100,000. ransom.

Mr Gregor was freed last Thursday when Australian Federal Police (AFP) persuaded the kidnappers there was money to be collected by their captive from the Canadian embassy in Bamako.

The conmen briefly released Mr Gregor, and police rescued him.

"I especially thank the Australian Federal Police for the effort that they put in and also the Mali police, they did a fantastic job in conjunction with the AFP, and if it wasn't for them, I reckon another couple of days and I wouldn't have returned," Mr Gregor said.

Asked if he had learnt his lesson, Mr Gregor replied: "I think so."

Mr Gregor arrived in Adelaide with none of his possessions and issued a warning to others seeking love over the internet.

"Just be careful, make sure you check everything out 100 per cent," he said.

Earlier, his brother Phil Gregor said Des was "absolutely blinded by the fact it was a scam".

"You see this in a movie, you read about it in a book – it happens to someone else, not you. But it does, I found that out," Phil Gregor said.

"I really hope that the message gets out to people that they look after their family and if anyone talks about internet relationships, that they can be open and share the mail with them to get an objective opinion.

"When you're in that relationship, it does seem that the reality of the scam doesn't show up to the person that is in it.

"I want people to be prevented from having to go through what we did.

"It's not a nice thing and it can be avoided with some family participation."


Freed Australian Woman Won't Give Up Online Boyfriend

A WOMAN jailed in the US over an internet romance with a 17-year-old boy says she will miss him dreadfully while she waits out a court order preventing the pair from contact.
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Tamara Broome, 31, spent one month in a US prison after authorities there accused her of attempting to entice a North Carolina teenager she met on the internet to travel to Australia to be with her.

She was freed late last month after a plea deal and arrived back in Australia on July 29.

Broome, a former Coles supermarket employee and Adelaide university student, developed an online relationship with the boy while playing the internet game, World of Warcraft.

"We're both into gaming ... we just had the same ideals," Broome said to the Nine Network.

The boy was being pressured into joining the US Marines and sought escape through the relationship, Broome said.

"We forgot about the rest of the world when we were together, (a) big thing for both of us at the time."

Broome said she sought legal advice before offering the boy a flight to Australia.

"I thought I'd give him an option," she said.

The boy was stopped on June 12 at North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham International Airport attempting to catch an Australia-bound flight.

When Broome travelled to the US to meet up with him she was tracked by US authorities and arrested before being charged with child abduction.

The pair tried many times to break off the internet relationship, Broome said, but their bond was too strong.

"It was so much more than just infatuation," she said. "I do love him dearly."

During their online affair the pair discussed the possibility of a sexual relationship, as well as the prospect of marriage.
"We did talk about all the legal ramifications of him coming over here and what I'd heard, what was legal here and what was legal there etcetera etcetera, so yeah, it was brought up."
Broome was freed after she agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

She is forbidden from contacting the victim in any way until he turns 18 on June 9, 2008.

"I'm going to miss him dreadfully over the next couple of months," Broome said.

She also indicated the pair may seek to restore the relationship once they are allowed.

"I think I'd be crazy to let him go," she said.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Online Fraud: Woman duped lonely friend out of $400,000

Woman duped lonely friend out of $400,000
By Kim Arlington

STELLA Metsikas lived a lonely life, so she was thrilled to be emailed out of the blue by "Jaiden" keen on starting arelationship.

As their love blossomed, Ms Metsikas deposited thousands of dollars into bank accounts for her cyber suitor, who was supposedly sick with cancer. But Jaiden didn't exist - he was dreamed up by Melissa Maree Quirk to swindle more than $400,000 from her vulnerable friend.

Jaiden's emails began arriving in 2001, soon after Ms Metsikas confided her feelings of loneliness to Quirk, a fellow worker at a fruit supply business.

While Ms Metsikas ended up bankrupt and homeless, sleeping on the streets, Quirk was spending her friend's savings on cars and holidays.

The 25-year-old, from Sydney's west, has now been jailed for up to three years on 11 counts of obtaining money by deception. Another 36 fraud matters were considered by District Court Judge Allan Hughes, who on Friday sentenced Quirk to a minimum two-year jail term.
He also ordered Quirk to pay $414,748 compensation.

An investigation found that in 2001, Quirk set up a hotmail account in Jaiden's name to correspond with Ms Metsikas. She described herself as a builder, 1.8m tall, with black hair and brown eyes. Later she told Ms Metsikas that she had befriended Jaiden at a Broncos rugby league game.

For five years she urged her friend to pursue the relationship and give him money.

Court documents said Quirk told Ms Metsikas Jaiden loved her and "was not out to con or deceive her and if she didn't help him out no one else would and they would never ... be able to start their lives together".

She produced a picture of a man she said was Jaiden. The victim would transfer money into Quirk's bank accounts or hand over cash or cheques, trusting her to transfer the money to Jaiden.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Serial Web Romeo sued over kooky come-ons


Here's a story that came across my computer screen [in Fall 2005]... Dr. Khaled Zeitoun (a fertility specialist -- doesn't he get enough female contact in his work?) is being sued by two separate women he met on an Internet dating site. The problem? He's a married man with three children. He told potential Sweeties that he was single.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with these suits. I wonder whether the court will take them seriously. But again, it's more reasons not to lie about ANYTHING. People find out, one way or another, and as these ladies are proving, you could find yourself in court.

Doctor real strange love

A Manhattan love doctor has been slapped with malpractice suits for breaking hearts.

Fertility specialist Dr. Khaled Zeitoun is a married father of three who allegedly left a trail of tears after taking to the Internet for some extramarital romance, according to court papers made public in September 2005.

Zeitoun, 46, is being sued by two women he met through an online dating service - and allegedly wooed with bizarre come-on lines invoking the Devil, tales of past lives and talk of the Apocalypse.

In lawsuits, Tiffany Wang and Jing Huang branded him a medical masher who pretended to be single to lure them into sexual relationships.

According to court papers, he may have been sweet-talking as many as six women at or around the same time.

"Zeitoun's conduct was part of a larger pattern in which he approaches single women on the Internet and becomes romantically involved with [them]," Wang, 46, charged in a complaint filed Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Zeitoun's conduct "was outside the boundaries of human decency and societal norms," according to the lawsuit.

Wang is "very nervous about trusting people," said lawyer Avraham Goldberg, who represents Wang and Huang.

Zeitoun laughed off the claims yesterday when questioned at the W. 53rd St. love nest where, court papers say, he rendezvoused with his online ladies.

"I don't know of any lawsuit that woman has filed against me," he said, referring to Wang, but he conceded he knew her.

"Is she suing someone because he romanced other women?" he chuckled.

Wang's lawsuit is nearly identical to one filed in March by Huang, 32, who says she, too, met Zeitoun through the Yahoo! Personals, and that he told her he was single.

Their suits seek unspecified money damages for infliction of severe emotional distress.

According to court papers, Zeitoun told both women that he had been married to them in a previous life and had mistreated them. He said he searched for them in this lifetime to correct his past mistakes.

He even told Wang that he made a deal with the Devil after being "trapped in hell" for two days in which he promised never to marry - and if he reneged "the whole world would collapse," according to her suit.

Still, the suit claims, he cruelly asked Wang to marry him "only to see the look of joy on her face," though he had no intention of making her his bride.

Zeitoun saw the women simultaneously, unknown to them. He dated Wang from March 2001 until July 2004 and saw Huang from Oct. 2003 until July 2004, court papers say.

Huang learned accidently that Zeitoun was married - and when she confronted him, he said he was getting a divorce, she contends.

She also learned the names of five other single women, including Wang, who had allegedly been romanced by Zeitoun.

"He knew the damage he could do to these women and he did it anyway," said the women's other lawyer, David Grover. "They are both educated, professional women."

In court papers filed in May, Zeitoun admitted having relationships with several women on the Internet while pretending to be single - but he said he told Huang upfront that he had no interest in long-term liaisons.