A farmer from Hunan province managed to use his introductory-level photoshop skills for evil by editing Chinese officials into “indecent photos” and blackmailing them for exorbitant amounts of money. Frankly, we’re not shocked he was able to pull this one off.
The man, surnamed Li, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined 500,000 yuan for extorting 453,000 yuan in total from the officials, Want China Times reports.
Li embarked on his dubious enterprise in the wake of the Dragon Boat Festival in 2012 by investing in a laptop, printers and bank cards. He later purchased pornographic photos for 2,000 yuan (US$320) and inserted the officials into the photos through a photo editing program.
Li then mailed the photos to over 200 officials, many of them inspection officials at customs, in Hubei and Guangdong provinces, threatening to publicize them unless the latter pay a certain amount of money.
What followed was the waiting period for fish to take the bait. He would intermittently check with ATM to see whether there were new deposits in one of his over 20 bank accounts and went to withdraw the money at ATMs in other places, if he had snagged a fish.
Before his arrest on June 14, 2013, Li had managed to pocket 453,000 yuan (US$73,000), out of a total demand for 9.47 million yuan (US$157,000), said the court in its verdict.
According to the report, many of the officials yielded to Li’s blackmail to avoid trouble. One unnamed vice president for a research institution said he’d transferred money over after receiving a letter but “sensed later on that the man inside the photo was actually not me”.
Previously on Shanghaiist: Another official outed by mistress’s leaked sex photos, but with hints of Photoshop [NSFW]