Euro police arrest 112 in online paedophilia bust

2011-12-16 12:50

Police in 22 European countries have arrested 112 suspects for allegedly sharing online videos of children being sexually abused and raped.

“So far, in 22 countries we have identified 269 suspects with 112 arrests,” Europol’s director, Rob Wainwright, said at a press conference at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague.

“The operation targeted those sharing the most extreme forms of video material, which included babies and toddlers being sexually abused and raped,” he said. “I have no doubt that the number of suspects will increase in time.”

Much of the material seized during some of the house searches was awaiting forensic examination for follow-up investigations, he said.

“However, this operation has already uncovered previously unknown networks of child sex offenders operating on different internet channels,” said Wainwright, specifically those sharing video files via a “peer-to-peer” system.

Danish police lead the probe because of their expertise in illegal videos through a file-sharing system, Europol said in a press release.

After the evidence was collected, the Danish National Police met other European police agencies at Europol in September to give them what it termed “intelligence packages”.

“The work of the Danish police was conducted in September, and the arrests took place in October and November, but it differs from one country to another,” said Jens Hendrik Hoejbjerg, Denmark’s national police commissioner.

In March, police in several countries arrested scores of alleged members of an online paedophile ring and rescued 230 children in what Europol called at the time “the biggest case of its kind” in a network that at one point had almost 70 000 members worldwide.

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