|British pedophile’s computer leads to Aussie predators funding abuse of Filipino children
An international investigation has cracked a pedophile ring which streamed live sexual abuse of Filipino children over the internet, leading to dozens of arrests, police in Philippines, Britain and Australia said. Among three Australians arrested, one was held in Bangkok.
Under Operation Endeavor which spanned a dozen nations, 29 people have been arrested including 11 in Philippines. Three other ongoing inquiries have identified 733 suspects, Britain's National Crime Agency said.
Fifteen child victims aged between six and 15 have been rescued.
Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa, head of the Philippine police's anti-cybercrime unit said child sex crimes have “become a major problem in the Philippines,’’ adding that “in some cases even the parents are involved.’’
Britain's crime agency said the inquiries began in 2012, when videos were found on a British pedophile's computer, AFP reports.
The British man, Timothy Ford, was sentenced in March last year to eight and a half years in prison while an associate, Thomas Owens, was convicted four months later.
Both men were said to have paid for abuse of children on the internet, and had at one point planned to travel to Philippines to carry out “contact abuse'' of minors.
Authorities in 12 countries were involved in the arrest of 29 suspects, the British crime agency said. Of 17 British suspects, five have been convicted and nine investigations are ongoing.
“This investigation has identified some extremely dangerous child sexual offenders who believed paying for children to be abused to order was something they could get away with,’’ said Andy Baker, deputy director of the agency's child exploitation and online protection command.
The Australian Federal Police said it had executed six search warrants that had led to the arrest of three Australians.
``Two of the men were arrested in Western Australia and one Sydney man was arrested by the Royal Thai Police in Bangkok,'' it said.
“Hundreds of thousands of images and videos depicting online child sexual exploitation, including children as young as five years old, were found during the warrants.''
The Australian offenders allegedly financed and ordered child abuse “shows'' from Philippines.
Police operations in Philippines have focused in the impoverished village of Ibabao on Cebu island.
In September last year, a Filipino couple in their 30s were arrested in Ibabao for forcing their three young children to engage in sex acts and charging clients up to US$100 each to watch using webcams.
Twelve other children were subsequently rescued, also in Ibabao.
Britain's crime agency said three other investigations into live streaming of child abuse have netted 733 suspects globally, including 139 in Britain and 594 overseas.