Police in western India arrested three men suspected of robbing and beating at least 15 gay men they had lured using Grindr.
According to a report in Reuters, the three men allegedly lured their victims to a secluded location where they robbed or assaulted them. Police said some victims were forced to make bank withdrawals, and their alleged attackers counted on the fear of being outed in the culturally conservative country to keep their crimes secret.
"Those arrested have confessed to having robbed at least 15 or 20 people using the same method in the last four months," J.P. Jadeja, a police officer in Ahmedabad, told Reuters.
Consensual same-sex sexual relations have been legal in India since 2018 when the country's Supreme Court found the law banning the practice unconstitutional. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code had punished same-sex sexual relations with life in prison. Despite the court ruling, though, many gay men still fear being ostracized from society if exposed.
Police said the accused counted on their alleged victims to remain quiet for fear of being outed. However, one brave man went to the police and reported the robbery and attack.
This is not the first time Grindr has been used to commit crimes against the LGBTQ+ community. Last year, police in Atlanta issued a warning about a small gang of men using Grindr to lure men to a remote location where they were robbed.
"From February to May, we have had eight instances where male victims were lured to remote locations by use of the Grindr app," Sergeant Rodney Jones of the APD robbery unit. "After the date concludes, the suspect will rob the victim, often taking their wallets, keys. or even vehicles."
Police officers in Egypt were accused of using Grindr to "clean the streets" of LGBTQ+ folks. Human Rights Watch interviewed 15 people who said they were arrested, detained, and suffered horrific torture and abuse by Egyptian police and National Security Agency officers because they are LGBTQ+, and some said the authorities used Grindr and other social media to entrap them.
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