BASKETBALL star Kiefer Ravena issued a statement on Wednesday saying that an individual was arrested by police for 'robbery and extortion' in connection with lewd photos allegedly belonging to him that have spread on social media.
Breaking his silence on the issue shortly after his arrival from the US, the former Ateneo star said a certain Kristoffer Monico Ng was arrested by elements of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group in an entrapment operation for threatening to 'extort money from us.'
Ravena didn’t say what the photos exactly were but the multi-titled cager has been in the news of late over photos allegedly showing his private parts that accompanying leaked screen shots of messages made it appear he had sent to a girl.
Ravena also hinted that there are other suspects that are still at large, expressing hope that the arrest of Ng will go a long way in putting a stop to such blackmailing activities.
Ravena, who arrived to join Alab Pilipinas in its preparation for the Asean Basketball League (ABL) playoffs, said he and his family have been consulting with authorities in the whole time they have been silent on the issue.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ravena said he was a victim of online extortion by the man who pretended to be a woman and promised to take down the posts in exchange for money and a sexual act performed on video.
“May mga nagme-message sa akin na kung hindi ko gawin yung mga pinapagawa nila sa akin, may ilalabas silang mga scandal, kaya po syempre natakot ako sa ganun,” said Ravena, who neither confirmed nor denied if the photos leaked online were his.
He admitted learning a lot from the recent controversy.
“Siguro hindi lang doble ingat, kailangan tripleng ingat talaga. Hindi natin alam, may mga tao talagang ganyan. So siguro sa lesson kong ito, kailangan lang talaga mag-ingat lalo na sa mundo ng social media,” he added to News5.
The suspect Ng, who is a Pasig City resident and employed as a checking officer in a bank, was arrested at around 12:20 p.m. in Eastwood in Libis, Quezon City in the second of two entrapment operations, PNP ACG spokesperson C/Supt. Jay Guillermo told GMA News.
After the spread of the photos, the PNP ACG said it received a complaint from Ravena’s parents and the entrapment operation was set in motion.
According to officials, Ng asked for P50,000 to stop the spread of the photos, and the PNP ACG had the first operation on Tuesday, handing over P25,000 as initial payment with the goal of determining the suspect’s identity.
Police apprehended the suspect on Wednesday in the final stage of their entrapment operation, the PNP ACG added.
Ng claimed he was only asking for money in exchange for information on the said posts but denied that he was directly involved in the posting the photos online.
The 22-year-old suspect, who is now detained in the PNP ACG facility on charges of robbery and extortion, said he just knows a friend who is selling the video.
“Hindi po ako kumuha ng video. Dapat magbibigay ako ng information in exchange of money, yun lang po,” said Ng to News5.
The PNP ACG denied Ng’s claim, saying the suspect was the man behind the posts.
“During the exchanges in communication, palitan ng mga messages, we were able to determine na itong taong ito ay iisa. Dun nagsimula na tinatakot nya ang biktima, sisirain nya ang career, kasi kilala naman natin kung sino ang biktima. So natakot ang tao,” said Guillermo to News5.
Here is Ravena’s statement in verbatim:
“Today, the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group conducted an entrapment operation on Kristoffer Monico Ng, who threatened to ‘leak’ photos and tried to extort money from us.
“We’ve been silent the past couple of weeks because my parents have been consulting with law enforcement to get to the bottom of this matter.
“According to police, Mr. Ng will be charged with robbery and extortion, and could face a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 20 years in prison.
“Now that we have the first suspect under the PNP’s custody, we hope to get more leads and information so justice will be served, and harassment and blackmailing such as this would end.”