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Police urge caution on gay chat sites after assault
NSW Police are again warning men who may use online gay chat sites or dating apps to be wary of who they meet and in what circumstances after a man was bashed and robbed by another man whom he had originally befriended online.
Police from Surry Hills Local Area Command said a 34-year-old man became the victim of an assault and robbery on Monday, September 16 after agreeing to meet with another man at a Surry Hills hotel on Oxford Street. The men had decided to go one of hotel’s rooms having never met previously.
Once inside, police allege that a third man entered the room through a balcony door and then assaulted the 34-year-old. The victim, from Wetherill Park, then ran from the room while his two assailants stole some of his property which was left behind.
Police and other emergency services soon attended the scene and the man was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he was treated for injuries, including a deep laceration to his scalp.
After a crime scene was established, police arrested a 29-year-old man at the hotel a short time later.
The man’s car as well as a number of items were seized before he was transported to Surry Hills Police Station and charged with aggravated robbery with wounding. Police are continuing their enquiries to locate the other alleged offender involved.
Surry Hills Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Craig Middleton, said people need to be vigilant when using social networking sites, particularly in light of other recent incidents.
In December last year, two men, aged 23 and 28, were arrested and charged over a vicious assault and robbery of a Surry Hills man who had earlier befriended one of the attackers via the Skout smartphone dating app.
“Anybody using these types of chat or meeting websites are to be extremely careful of criminals who prey on vulnerable victims,” Middleton said.
“In this case the victim suffered a laceration to his scalp and it could have been a lot worse. When meeting people who you have only spoken to on the phone or over the internet, it is very important to meet them at a public spot or to take a friend along with you.”
The 29-year-old man involved in the latest incident was refused bail and will reappear in Central Local Court on Thursday, November 7.