CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

Hong Kong police arrest 15 men, seize 27,000 child pornography items in citywide raids

Operation led by Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau involved about 100 officers from various units

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 May, 2017, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 May, 2017, 11:36pm

Hong Kong police on Thursday arrested 15 men and confiscated at least 27,000 photographs and video clips depicting child sex abuse in one of their biggest crackdowns on child pornography in the city.

In a raid on one suspect’s home, officers found nearly 20,000 pictures and more than 3,000 video clips with obscene images and acts involving children on his computer, sources said.

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Describing the crackdown as one of the biggest, a force insider said more child pornography was expected to be found in the seized computer and hard disks.

More than 20 people were targeted in the citywide operation mounted by the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau on Thursday.

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Around 100 officers began the raids at daybreak, acting on intelligence gathered by the bureau, including from overseas law enforcement agencies.

The 15 suspects – all Hongkongers aged between 20 and 53 – included technicians, painting workers, delivery workers and unemployed men.

Police will continue to exchange intelligence with overseas law enforcement agencies to tackle such illegal activities
Fan Chun-yip, senior inspector

Senior Inspector Fan Chun-yip from the bureau said initial examination of more than 20 computers and hard disks dug up more than 20,000 pictures and 7,000 video clips of obscene images and acts involving children.

Preliminary investigations suggested the suspects had obtained the photos and videos through different channels such as internet downloads, he said.

“They also downloaded such child pornography items through file-sharing portals and stored it on their computers,” Fan added.

Investigations so far found no local children in the images and video clips.

Police believed the suspects downloaded the files for their own viewing, and have found no indication that they were reselling the offensive material for profit.

“Possessing child pornography is a serious offence and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a HK$1 million fine,” Fan said.

Police also noted there was no evidence of a rising trend in child pornography crime in the city. The raids were part of the force’s regular operations against child pornography, he said, and “police will continue to exchange intelligence with overseas law enforcement agencies to tackle such illegal activities”.

A police spokeswoman said the number of child pornography cases dropped to 43 last year from 53 in 2015.