x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Man 'blackmailed intern over laptop pictures'

A man is charged with trying to hold a co-worker's stolen laptop for ransom.

ABU DHABI // A man took a colleague's laptop from her car and tried to blackmail her into paying Dh200,000 to reclaim it, and the personal pictures on the hard drive, the Criminal Court of First Instance heard yesterday.

RA, an intern for an Abu Dhabi media company, said her computer was removed from her car some time during the summer.

Prosecutors said soon after she began receiving text messages asking for money in exchange for the laptop.

RA said at first the sender asked for Dh100,000 but then raised the price to Dh200,000. The messages came from a Saudi number.

Private photographs from her laptop were also posted on the windscreen of her car, she said.

RA remembered that she might have given her car keys once or twice to MM, an Emirati, who worked at the same company, a CID officer testified.

After several failed attempts to ambush MM, police said they caught him in a sting operation during Ramadan at Al Ittihad clinic near Airport Road, where the exchange of money for the laptop was supposed to take place.

One undercover officer saw a masked man behind the gate at the clinic. When the man saw the agent, he started running towards nearby car repair shops on Airport Road, the CID officer testified.

Several officers, as well as passers-by, gave chase and caught up with him. MM told police he had only wanted to use the toilet at a nearby mosque.

A mobile phone matching the Saudi number from which the texts had been sent was found on the ground, prosecutors said.

Police said MM confessed to an officer after being arrested.

The judge adjourned the case to October 11.