Two arrested for using Grindr to blackmail and rob gay men in Ghana

Lebanon Grindr ban: A phone on a table with the Grindr app switched on

Two men have been arrested in Ghana for using Grindr to rob and blackmail gay victims.

The suspects, Philip Larbi and Sam Akai, allegedly used Grindr to invite men for sex before holding them at knifepoint until they handed over their money and other valuables.

“They use these photos and videos as bait to demand money from their victims.”

— Police Commander David Agyemang Agyem

They were arrested by officers in Kasoa, in south Ghana, according to Citi News.

David Agyemang Agyem, the Divisional Police Commander in Kasoa, said the suspects also took naked photos and videos of their victims before threatening to post them on social media if they didn’t hand over more money.

“They use these photos and videos as bait to demand money from their victims,” explained the police commander.

Agyem warned that anyone who goes on Grindr in Ghana—where gay sex is illegal and punishable with three years in prison—should be on their guard.

“Those who visit the ‘Grindr’ website which is an LGBTI site must be careful and must watch out for criminals since they are looking for people to devour,” he said.

Ghana is a dangerous place for gay people

Human rights groups say that violent homophobic attacks against LGBT people are common in Ghana, often encouraged by the media and religious leaders.

And there is no sign that Ghana is moving towards the decriminalising homosexuality.

In August, Nana Akufo-Addo, who became the country’s president last year, insisted he would not support any change to the current law.

Speaking to the 2018 Synod of the Global Evangelical Church, the president said: “Let me assure that this government has no plans to change the law on same-sex marriage.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, said he was not going to legalise gay marriage (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty)

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said “this Government has no plans to change the law on same-sex marriage” (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty)

“We have no authority, and we will not seek any authority to do so.”

The decriminalisation of homosexuality and the introduction of same-sex marriage are frequently conflated by politicians in the region and by the nation’s media.

Less than two weeks after the president’s speech, it emerged that around 400 people in Ghana had signed up to take part in a gay ‘cure’ therapy forum.

The attendees signed on to receive ‘counselling’ and ‘reformation’ at the anti-gay conference, which had the theme: “Exploring the myths surrounding LGBT rights.”

The National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values (NCPHSRFV), which ran the forum, said in April last year that Prime Minister Theresa May’s pro-LGBT+ speech to Commonwealth leaders was part of a Western plan to reduce the continent’s population.