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They would befriend them and eventually invite them to engage in cybersex, before blackmailing them with the recorded videos.
Police and intelligence officers were able to dismantle the ring by monitoring social media sites and tracing cash flows, and they hope their investigation will deter other crime groups — especially in the Philippines, which holds the ignominious title of sextortion capital of the world.
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The fraudsters invited victims to engage in cybersex activities via webcam, during which the woman would take off her clothes to entice the victim to take off his.
Most of the victims were from the Asia, Europe, and the US, including a 17-year-old Scottish boy who committed suicide after being targeted on Skype.
Authorities say the suspects would lure their victims using fake profiles on social media and porn websites.
The network was dismantled after an investigation launched by Philippine police, Interpol, and the US Department of Homeland Security, among other law enforcement agencies.
At least 58 suspects were arrested in Manila and other Philippine cities, officials announced Friday, alleging that they collected thousands of dollars from hundreds of victims.
A total of HK$2.6 million was pocketed by swindlers through sextortion, compared to HK$1.6 million over the same period in 2014.