MP receives 'distasteful photo where my face was digitally manipulated onto one of the figures'

Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Edward Chia has made a police report after receiving an extortion demand in the mail.

In a Facebook post on April 20, he said that he and others have received "distressing letters".

"Inside was a distasteful photo where my face was digitally manipulated onto one of the figures, accompanied by an extortion demand," said Mr Chia, who decried the rise of deepfakes that made it "harder to discern reality from fiction".

I have filed a police report. I, number of MPs and some members of the public have received distressing letters. Inside...

Posted by Edward Chia Bing Hui 谢秉辉 on Friday 19 April 2024


He did not share the photo.

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Jurong GRC MP Tan Wu Meng also shared similar social media posts.


Between March and April, the police have received more than 70 reports where victims received extortionary letters via post containing manipulated photographs where the publicly sourced pictures of the victims’ faces would be superimposed on obscene photographs of a man and a woman purportedly in an intimate and compromising position.

The letters warned of threatening consequences unless they contact the email address provided in the letters.

In one of the reports, a 50-year-old victim lost $20,000 after responding to the email address and transferred the money to a bank account allegedly provided by the other party.

Based on current cases, the letters would be sent to the victims’ workplaces. If the victims contact the email address, they would be threatened to transfer money to prevent compromising photographs and videos from being leaked and exposed on social media.

The photographs and workplace addresses appear to be obtained from publicly available online sources.

Police investigations are ongoing.

You are advised to adopt the following crime prevention measures:

  • With advancements to photo and video editing technology, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered tools, manipulated photographs and videos may increasingly be used for extortion.
  • If you receive a manipulated photograph or video, remain calm. Ignore any instructions to initiate contact or make money transfers. Doing so emboldens the other party to extort more money from you. Report the matter to the police immediately and put the letter in a separate storage bag for handover to the police.
  • Never share provocative photos or videos of yourself online or through chat apps as they might fall into the wrong hands.