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Australian police smash child porn ring

23 march 2012, 12:14
0
 
©REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
©REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
Australian police have smashed a child porn ring and arrested 14 men, including fathers, after hundreds of thousands of images and videos were seized, some depicting toddlers, AFP reports citing police.

Australian Federal Police raided more than a dozen properties across the country over the past week after a tip-off by Interpol, which linked the men to a child exploitation network in Germany.

"These men were allegedly accessing child sexual exploitation material via a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, with images depicting children including infants, being sexually abused," police said in a statement.

Computers, hard drives, laptop computers, portable storage devices and mobile phones allegedly containing hundreds of thousands of child abuse images and videos were seized, they added.

"They are atrocious," police cybercrime operations chief Glen McEwen told reporters.

"If child predators think that they can avoid being detected they should think again. The Internet is not immune from law enforcement activity."

He added that the arrested men were aged between 21 and 64, and some were fathers.

"We did have children at the premises at the time of the execution of search warrants and the police have engaged the locally-based welfare agencies, and assessments have been undertaken," he said.

McEwan would not say where the pornography was made or whether those charged made it, but added that various ethnicities were represented in the material.

"Allow me to place on record my personal disgust of the abhorrent nature of activity associated with the exploitation of children," he said.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare called it "a really important breakthrough".

"The work the police are doing to protect our children against predators who seek to harm them is tough and I congratulate them," he said.

According to police, 850 people have been arrested in Australia over the past seven years on charges relating to online child sexual exploitation.

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