POLICE are warning the public to be very careful when meeting people they’ve met online after a young woman was allegedly gang raped on a date with a man she’d met through a mobile dating app.
The 28-year-old woman from New Zealand was in Sydney on business when she first stumbled across the man’s profile on Tinder.
She met with the man in person for the first time at a Kings Cross restaurant last Saturday before accompanying him to a bar in Martin Place, where they were joined by a number of the man’s friends.
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Later on that night, police said the woman began to feel dizzy and numb, and lost her bearings, before she was taken to an unknown property, believed to be in the Botany area, and allegedly sexually assaulted by the group of men.
She managed to leave the property the next morning before reporting the matter to colleagues who duly informed police.
An investigation, being led by State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad, is now underway and detectives are warning people to be very careful when meeting people they have met online.
“The vast majority of people who use dating websites and apps do so for the right reasons, but there are a number of sexual predators out there who use modern technology to find potential victims,” Detective Inspector Michael Haddow said.
“We regularly remind people, children and parents in particular, that the use of the internet by sexual predators is an issue they need to be well aware of.
“All those warnings we give to children are applicable to adults.”
Detective Inspector Haddow added that anyone thinking of meeting someone they have been introduced to online should bring a friend along.
“It’s absolutely vital that people using dating websites and apps remember that how a person portrays themselves on the internet can be very different from their real life persona,” Detective Inspector Haddow said.
“With this in mind, we strongly advise people that if they decide to meet a person they have been introduced to via the internet, then ensure the meeting is in a public place and take a friend along with you.
“Having a friend there ensures that one of you can always keep an eye on your drink, and you have someone to turn to who can help you out should you feel threatened or uncomfortable.
“If it’s not possible to bring a friend with you, then, at the very least, stay in regular contact with a family member or friend, keeping them abreast of how the night is going and where you may be heading to.”
The man the woman met in Kings Cross is described as being of Pacific Islander / Maori appearance.
The woman was treated at a Sydney hospital where she provided a statement to detectives yesterday before returning to New Zealand where she is being supported by family.
As the investigation is in its infancy, no further detail on the case can be provided at this stage.
Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence.