Gay men targeted as robbers' favourite victims

Two young men have been convicted after they enticed gay men to a desolate location and robbed them of their cash, bankcards and mobile phones.

The criminals went online and teamed up with gay men visiting a Dutch dating site. The men thought that they were heading for a romantic assignation at the foot of the Chicago tower blocks on Antwerp's Left Bank, but the gangsters had other intentions in mind.

The conmen also used violence. One victim was stabbed in arm and foot.

Gay men were selected as victims because they might be more reluctant to file a complaint. Six victims including one straight guy did file a complaint with the police.

The judge labelled the robbers' actions "despicable".

One of the criminals was earlier convicted of similar offences by a youth magistrate. He got a four year sentence, though eleven months were suspended. The other robber got two years, half of which was suspended.