Australia's biggest child-porn bust nets 70 people
Australian police investigating an
international child pornography ring said Thursday they were stunned by the
number of suspected pedophiles that had downloaded images from the internet.
More than 70 people have been arrested - a primary school teacher, a policeman and a prominent football coach among them - in an Interpol-led investigation triggered when a hacker infiltrated a respectable European web site to post 99 pictures of young girls being abused.
The site, which was only up for 76 hours, received an astonishing 12 million hits from 150,000 computer users as pedophiles alerted others to its content.
"You're talking about 12 million hits from around the world but in a small time period of three days," Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty told reporters. "In Australia the operation has netted over a million images of children, and these are not children in passive positions, these are children who are being abused."
Keelty said 2,883 computer IP addresses had been traced to Australia and all had been identified. Four children had been taken from their homes and into care following the arrests.
Those taken into custody range in age from 19 to 81. One had a library of 50,000 child abuse images.
Andrew Colvin, a senior officer with the Federal Police, told The Sydney Morning Herald that investigators were stunned at the sheer numbers collecting child pornography on the internet.
"We're dealing with a medium where communication is so quick and so broad that something like this could happen," Colvin said. "It's stunning that millions of people around the world can commit an offence and access child abuse images in one hit at the same time.", according to dpa.