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Schoolboy vigilantes expose paedophiles with dating app stings – but police charge them too

Three men have been charged with child grooming offences after a group of young vigilantes in Sydney, Australia, used dating apps to lure them into alleged underage sex hook-ups in order to expose them on social media.

But police have also charged four of the teenagers – all private schoolboys under the age of 17 – with allegedly bashing one of the men and demanding $10,000 from another.

Clips from the group’s social media account republished by The Daily Telegraph show a series of confrontations between the high school boys and their targets.

In one they chase a man through the streets of Manly Beach, in another they detain two men until police arrive, and in a third they tell a man in a car they are going to share his image on social media.

The group allegedly ambushed a total of five men aged 30 to 64 in January after setting up “honey traps” on gay dating app Grindr and other platforms.

Text messages shared by the teens allegedly show explicit conversations where the vigilantes claimed to be 14 years old.

One of the videos shows the group surrounds one of the alleged paedophiles and ask him repeatedly: “Bro, why are you here to meet a 14-year-old online?”

They then chase the man, who flees into a nearby apartment building.

A NSW Police spokesperson said: “Police do not support vigilante behaviour as it is a risk to all involved and leads to unintended consequences – report matters to police.”

The spokesperson said four of the teens were arrested during two police raids, and were were charged with assault and demanding money with menace.

They cannot identified due to their age, and some faced the NSW Children’s Court this week.

Criminal lawyer Benjamin Goh, said at least two of the teenagers plan to fight the charges.

“It is not illegal to expose adults who are attempting to engage in sex with a minor,” Mr Goh said.

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