A group of three men in Jamaica reportedly lured an 18-year-old man through a gay dating site in order to rob him. They then disfigured the victim and set him on fire, leaving him in the hospital in critical condition.
The victim, from St. James, Jamaica, told police he went to a location in the Flankers neighborhood of Montego Bay where he had arranged to meet a man he was corresponding with on the dating site.
When he arrived, he encountered the three assailants, who kidnapped him, restrained him, and took his cell phone, wallet, and bank cards. The three beat him up until he told him his bank information, leaving him sequestered while they tried to access the funds, according to the local newspaper The Gleaner.
When the assailants were unsuccessful at using the man’s card at an ATM, they returned and forced the victim to make a transfer into an account they gave him.
The men, who were drinking alcohol, then doused their victim in rum, partially severed his penis, and set him on fire, leaving him to die.
“He is a very lucky young man because although they left him in a critical condition, he managed to make his way to a security checkpoint in the community where they assisted him to the hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition,” a police source told The Gleaner.
According to police, this is not the first time criminals have used gay dating sites to lure victims into remote areas in order to rob or assault them. A similar pattern of crimes using gay dating apps as a ruse emerged a few years ago, but police were able to put a stop to them.
In January 2020, a similar case made headlines after 43-year-old warehouse manager, Allie Jackson, met a man on a gay dating site and left to have a lunch date with the person he had been talking to on the site. Jackson never returned to work, but a week later his car was found abandoned and set alight by the side of the road. His body was later found in a shallow grave, according to police. Two men have since been arrested and charged in his death.
LGBTQ Jamaicans may often find themselves targeted for discrimination or violence in the country, according to a 2014 report from Human Rights Watch. The country still recognizes and prosecutes people under the 1864 Offences Against the Person Act, a Victorian-era anti-sodomy law that is a relic of British rule on the island.
Under the act, males convicted of “buggery” and “gross indecency” can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison with hard labor — thereby making gay men perfect targets for criminals, who prefer victims who will be reticent to go to police. Earlier this year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on Jamaica to repeal the law based on findings from an investigation into complaints filed by two Jamaicans — one man, one woman — who were forced to flee the country after they were targeted by mobs and vigilantes for allegedly being LGBTQ.
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