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  • Apr 21, 2014
  • Updated: 7:45pm

US and China join forces to shut global porn ring

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am

Law enforcement authorities from the US and China have taken down what they say was the world's largest network of Chinese-language pornographic websites - the first such joint crackdown by the two countries.

The US-based internet pornography network spanned 10 million registered users and was shut down in a co-ordinated strike carried out two months ago, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said. The agency described the campaign as the first time it had joined forces with the US to prosecute internet crimes and predicted more co-operation.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara praised the ministry for its 'extensive co-operation and assistance' in a separate statement on Monday announcing the FBI's arrest of the accused ringleader of the pornography network.

The action suggests the two countries can find common ground on internet crimes, even as Washington continues to criticise China's web censorship of politically sensitive speech, and supports the development of software that lets Chinese internet users evade the censors.

The FBI on June 23 arrested Wang Yong - a permanent US resident from Fujian province - at his apartment in Queens, New York. Investigators say they found a large volume of child-pornography materials on two Texas servers tied to Wang, along with evidence that he made hundreds of thousands of US dollars by running at least 18 child-pornography websites.

Wang faces three felony counts of exploiting children and reproducing and distributing child pornography, which together carry a maximum sentence of 70 years in prison.

As Wang was apprehended, police arrested more than 10 suspects on the mainland for money laundering and website maintenance infractions. Authorities said Wang, 26, had sold child pornography to certain VIP members since 2007 at a cost of US$25 to US$100.

The websites had suggestive names, such as 'Empire of Fragrances with the Young and Innocent', 'Young Boy Movie Zone' and 'Young Girl Photo Sets with Exclusive Quality'. But they were all in Chinese, eluding US watchdogs.

As early as 2002, Chinese authorities had detected Wang's network and authorities had arrested nearly 1,000 people - mostly volunteers - for contributing to the website. Wang, however, remained at large.

The two sides began co-operating in April last year. China sent police officers to the US and invited FBI agents to China to share information.

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