Student and two others in Singapore targeted through hitmen-for-hire sites on Dark Web
Man jailed for five years for ordering murder of ex-lover's new boyfriend on Dark Web
A man was jailed yesterday for trying to hire a hitman on the Dark Web to kill his former lover's new boyfriend.
But he may not be the only one here who had turned to "hitman-for-hire" sites.
The New Paper has learnt that at least three other people in Singapore were allegedly targeted through websites such as Camorra Hitmen, which offers assassins for hire on the Dark Web.
One target is believed to be a student at a school in Punggol.
Allen Vincent Hui Kim Seng, 47, a risk management executive, was jailed for five years yesterday after trying to hire a hitman from Camorra Hitmen.
The plot came to light after Mr Christopher Monteiro, a security analyst in his 30s, alerted a journalist at US-based media company CBS who then tipped off the Singapore authorities.
Mr Monteiro, who is based in London, has been credited with exposing several murder plots linked to such sites.
In July, The Tribune, a newspaper in California, reported that he was an expert witness in a case involving a man who tried to hire a hitman to kill his stepmother.
The man was jailed for three years earlier this month.
When contacted by TNP, Mr Monteiro shared details of three other targets in Singapore that he found on such sites.
The hit on the first target, the student in Punggol, was ordered in May last year for an agreed price of $2,600 in bitcoin.
The student's name and the school address were given to the site.
The second target was a woman whose photo was provided to the site in November last year.
The user who ordered the hit provided the woman's name and a location in western Singapore, with a message to "kill her" after claiming to have paid about $5,900 in bitcoin.
The third hit was ordered for $67,600 in bitcoin in December last year on a man with an Ang Mo Kio address, with instructions to "kill him".
No payment appears to have been made in all three cases, despite the claim of the user ordering the second hit.
TNP has shared the details of the alleged targets with the police.
Most "hitman" sites are believed to be scams. Wired UK, CBS News, Vice News and The Mirror have reported that sites like Camorra Hitmen are scams.
Mr Mikko Niemela, a cyber security expert who is leading the dark net research team at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that trying to hire a hitman on the Dark Web rarely works.
"The sites that offer hitman services typically have undercover officers patrolling and pretending to be service providers," he said.
"More than half of the providers are undercover police. The rest are fake or willing to report to the authorities or otherwise get caught."
Mr Monteiro told TNP that he also believes such sites are scams, and they use fake reviews to convince potential users to make payment.
But he said they continue to be a danger.
"About 95 per cent of users on such sites think it is real, and that is what's important," he said.
"A fake assassination website may not kill anyone, but it may provide a direct or emotional incentive for someone to carry out a murder through alternative means."
Mr Ilya Sachkov, the founder and chief executive officer of cyber security company Group-IB, warned that targets who have been identified need to be wary.
He said: "The risks posed by such websites are difficult to assess, but if someone is sharing information on a potential victim on such websites and wants you dead so much that they are ready to pay for this, it is definitely something to be concerned about and you should think about your personal security."
Criminal lawyer Edmond Pereira said intention and action are legally the most important factors, regardless of whether the site turns out to be fake.
He said: "The crime is completed when the act is done. The thought itself is not an offence, it must be translated into action."
When told of the three other targets, he said that even if no payment was made, providing the names and instructions to kill them would be considered as action taken.
"It doesn't mean that there was no action just because no payment was made," he said.
"The fact that it was discussed, and the targets were named, is considered as action. It is enough to constitute an offence."
Mr Pereira said the sentence handed to Hui was a strong message from the courts.
"We've heard of other similar cases in the US and other countries, but this is the first such case involving the Dark Web here," he said.
"The judge was sending a strong message that the courts are not going to treat such offences lightly."
FOR MORE, SEE: Spurned lover jailed five years for hiring hitman