Online child sex probe leads to 337 arrests: UK police
LONDON, Oct 16, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – UK and US authorities investigating a
“dark web” child pornography site run from South Korea on Wednesday announced
the arrest of 337 suspects in 38 countries.
Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said the “Welcome to Video” site
contained 250,000 videos that were downloaded a million times by users across
“The website monetised the sexual abuse of children and was one of the
first to offer sickening videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin,”
the NCA said in a statement.
“The arrests were made in 38 countries including the UK, Ireland, America,
South Korea, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the
Czech Republic and Canada.”
The investigations also involved South Korean National Police and
Germany’s Federal Criminal Police.
In Washington, the US Department of Justice said separately the site
operated “the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content”
when it was taken down.
“Welcome to Video” operated on the so-called “dark web”, which can only be
accessed by special software and is widely used to traffic various illegal
content and products.
The NCA said seven men have already been convicted in Britain since the
first suspect was arrested in 2017.
One man “was jailed for 22 years for raping a five-year-old boy and
appearing on Welcome To Video sexually abusing a three-year-old girl.”
The collaboration between global law enforcement agencies was sparked by
the British investigation into a British scientist for child sex offences,
according to the NCA, which deals with serious and organised crime, as well
Matthew Falder was sentenced to 25 years in jail in 2017 after admitting
137 counts of online abuse, including the encouragement of child rape and
even the abuse of a baby.
The US Justice Department indicted the site’s alleged operator —
identified as 23-year-old South Korean national Jong Woo Son — on nine
counts. “Dark net sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children
are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behaviour,” said
US Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski.
BSS/AFP/FI/ 2126 hrs