Child porn investigations reveal more suspects

Port Elizabeth - Investigations have revealed hundreds of new suspects in a child pornography ring following the appearance of two people in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

At the same time a separate investigation into a Grahamstown-based man identified as a kingpin in the child pornography network, has revealed thousands of previously unknown victims.

The two suspects, a 33-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman from Westering who are out on bail, were arrested as part of an international collaboration between the Saps and police in Belgium in an operation named Cloud 9.

A small group of protestors from Women And Men Against Child Abuse stood outside the court.

The couple’s arrests followed that of a 37-year-old computer engineer in Plettenberg Bay in January after his internet address was found on a cyber meeting space used by a network of paedophiles and child pornographers.

‘Rape and kill’ file found

Investigators seized his laptop, where they allegedly found traces of videos and photographs depicting violent assaults.

They also allegedly found an encrypted “rape and kill” file that provided access to a site with fetishes for the abduction, bondage, rape and murder of newborn babies.

The computer engineer, who is currently out on bail of R10 000, briefly appeared in the Plettenberg Bay Magistrate’s Court this week. His case has been postponed until May 12 and moved to the Knysna Regional Court.

Following the Plett arrest, 334 new suspects were identified, which in turn led to the arrest of the PE couple, as well as a 39-year-old man from Midrand, who also briefly appeared in court on Tuesday.

Sources close to the investigation said that following the Port Elizabeth couple’s arrest, a further 81 suspects belonging to the global child pornography network were identified. The couple’s case has been postponed until July 2 for further investigation.

Cloud 9

Since the arrests in South Africa, the Cloud 9 investigation has also led to three arrests in Belgium and nine additional persons of interest under investigation, two arrests in the USA and a further 6 cases that have been handed over to investigators in other countries.

In a separate case, not linked to Cloud 9, a 53-year-old man, who was arrested through a joint task force with the USA’s FBI, and who is deemed to be a Kingpin in the international Child Pornography network, will appear in the Grahamstown Magistrates Court next week Tuesday.

Investigations into the child pornography content hosted by the man has led to the identification of 468 victims from the UK, 58 victims from Australia, 120 victims from Canada and 1808 victims from the USA.

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