BUKIT MERTAJAM: Police have arrested a 37-year-old man, who is believed to have raped at least three girls at a shopping mall in Prai since December last year.

Using the WeChat application, the suspect had posed as a woman to approach the girls online, all of whom were underage.

Central Seberang Perai district police chief Nik Ros Azhan Nik Ab Hamid said, the smooth-talking man would convince the girls to send them pictures of their breasts so he could ‘assess’ the treatment needed.

“Once he received the pictures, he would then threaten to post them online and reveal their identities. He would then blackmail his victims into meeting him at a shopping mall in Prai.

“Upon meeting, he would bring his victim to a vacant shop lot on the mall’s fourth floor where he would molest and rape them,” said Nik Ros Azhan.

Nik Ros Azhan said, despite having confessed to raping three girls, only one girl had lodged a police report.

“The victim was a 13-year-old girl, who lodged a report in December 2017 after being raped by the man using the same modus operandi,” he said.

The man’s activities came to a halt on Saturday when he tried to claim a fourth victim.

Police, said Nik Ros Azhan, got wind of the man’s activities, and with help from members of the public, moved in to arrest him as he was about to attack yet another girl at the same shopping mall on Saturday.

The man is now in police custody.