Early on Wednesday, authorities in Saudi's Ha'il governorate, executed "public lashing orders" against a man who "blackmailed" several women, Ha'il Newspaper reported.

The lashings took place outside the governorate's all-female college campus and came after a court found the man guilty of said charges, namely threatening to post indecent photos of the women on social media if they refused to enter illicit relationships with him.  

According to the local publication, the man had obtained photos of the women from a third party and had saved them on his mobile phone. 

"Pornographic photos and evidence that the defendant had previously had an illicit relationship with a non-Saudi female were also found on the device."

After he was found guilty, a court sentenced the man to four years in jail, 60 lashes, and a 10,000 riyals ($2,666) fine.

People react on social media

News of the lashings and sentence went viral on social media soon after they were made public and many are now reacting to the entire incident.  

Some are relieved over the sentence

"Excellent, let's hope this sentence will deter him and others."  

Others think the man's victims should've been punished too

"The women should also be punished." 

Because to them, "no man would approach a girl if she doesn't give him a chance to"

People aren't having any of these excuses though

"We don't know how many women this criminal abused... he deserves what he got."

He deserves to be punished

"Any crime that involves blackmail deserves a sentence that publicly shames the criminal, because they threatened to do the same thing to their victims."

Sexual harassment to become a major offense in Saudi

Earlier last month, King Salman issued a royal decree calling upon the kingdom's interior minister to draft a law that criminalizes sexual harassment and enforces penalties on perpetrators. 

A copy of the decree, which circulated online at the time, read: 

"Considering the dangers sexual harassment poses and its negative impact on the individual, the family and society, along with its contradiction of Islamic principles, our customs and traditions [...], the ministry shall prepare a draft law to tackle sexual harassment."

The decree also went on to note the "importance of passing a law that criminalizes it [sexual harassment] and outlines the necessary penalties that categorically prohibit such acts and deter anyone who feels tempted to commit them." 

The latest move comes at a time when women in the conservative kingdom face high rates of sexual harassment.  

According to a 2014 study, nearly 80% of women aged 18 to 48 said they have experienced sexual harassment in the country. 

The Institute for International Research, a Canadian institute specialized in research and field studies, found that Saudi Arabia witnessed an 11.4% increase in sexual harassment rates in 2016, compared to 2014.