Police in Thailand have charged a soldier with forcing teenage boys to have sex with him by threatening to make nude pictures of them public.
The 43-year-old suspect, Sergeant Major Jakkrit Khomsing, is said to have tricked his victims through fake online dating profiles and Facebook accounts.
When he was arrested at his home in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen police found HIV medicine and later confirmed he was HIV-positive through testing.
Sgt Maj Khomsing is accused of creating fake Facebook accounts and profiles on the gay dating app Blued, where he found young Thai teens and began conversations.
Thinking they were chatting with someone else, his alleged victims – more than 70, who are aged between 13 and 18 – were persuaded to send him naked photos of themselves.
But when they finally met in person the teens realised they had been tricked. If they refused to have sex with them, Sgt Maj Khomsing said he would release the pictures.
A senior police commander, Major General Surachate Hakparn, said that the case did not have any implications for the armed forces.
“Even though the suspect is a soldier, this behaviour – and I’ve consulted with army commanders – is a personal issue, not an organisational one,” he said.
Detectives in Thailand are widening their investigation and want to contact other victims of Sgt Maj Khomsing who have yet to come forward.
The soldier has so far been charged with six offences, among them sex with a minor under 15, indecent assault of a minor under 15, blackmail, and coercing minors to conduct inappropriate acts.
If convicted of the charges, Sgt Maj Khomsing faces 20 years or more in prison.