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December 10, 2010

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Couple arrested for blackmail

A WOMAN and her partner have been arrested for allegedly blackmailing a photographer who had sex with her after a nude photo-shoot, Minhang District prosecutors said yesterday.

The pair tried to extort 1 million yuan (US$149,925) from the photographer by threatening to report him to police for rape. When the photographer was about to pay some money to the suspects, his wife followed him and called the police.

The photographer, surnamed Xia, ran a photo studio on Huaqing Road in Minhang District and was successful and well thought of by clients.

On the afternoon of May 12, 2009, a woman, surnamed Yi, entered Xia's studio in order to have photos taken for an album she hoped to have published, prosecutors said.

During a break in the photo shoot, Yi saw an album of nude photography and showed great interest in the subject, according to prosecutors. Xia encouraged Yi to have some nude pictures taken as well and Yi agreed.

During the nude shoot, Xia is said to have touched Yi's body unintentionally when he tried to correct her posture. Yi, a divorcee, is then alleged to have kissed him, which led to the two having sex in the photo studio, according to the prosecutors.

Yi came back a few days later with her dance teacher, Dai, a man in his 50s, to take away all the pictures and negatives from the nude shoot.

After her album was published, only around 10 were sold and Yi, without a stable job and said to have been having money troubles, was relying on the album to stabilize her finances.

Dai suggested that Yi blackmail Xia, who they surmised was wealthy due to his successful business, saying that they ought to take advantage of the liaison Yi and Xia had together.

The pair came to Xia's studio on September 2, more than one year after the affair. Dai, pretending to be Yi's husband, allegedly threatened to report the "rape" to police and forced him to write a confession so that they had insurance against him if he ever decided to report them to the police.

The pair asked for 1 million yuan in compensation for the "mental anguish" Xia had caused Yi, according to the prosecutors.

Xia, married and worried about his reputation, agreed to initially pay 80,000 yuan. His demeanor over the following days aroused the suspicions of his wife and he confessed everything to her.

When Xia went to a park to pay the 80,000 yuan to the suspects on October 3, his wife followed him and called the police, the prosecutors said.


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