Police arrest more than 300 suspected paedophiles worldwide after massive child abuse website hosting 250,000 sickening videos is taken down from ‘dark web’ and US prosecutors charge South Korean ‘ringleader’
- Arrest of paedophile Cambridge graduate led to discovery of dark web site
- It has since emerged that hundreds of paedophiles accessed horrific site
- U.S. authorities have taken down the site and today charged the man behind it
Police in the US, UK, Germany and South Korea have taken down a worldwide paedophile ring where sex offenders paid in bitcoin to download hundreds of thousands of vile child abuse videos.
More than 250,000 horrific videos, stored on a computer server in South Korea and available through a website called ‘Welcome To Video’, were sold to paedophiles around the world through the dark web, with more than a million clips downloaded.
The US Department of Justice has now charged South Korean suspect Jong Woo Son, 23, with running the website, as police forces around the world move in on those who have been using the site.
So far, 337 suspects have been arrested globally, with 18 investigations in the UK and seven British men already convicted.
American authorities have raided the homes of 92 people and today released the names 34 people arrested or charged in the U.S.
British paedophiles Dr Matthew Falder and Kyle Fox were among hundreds of sex offenders around the world using the sick website, which was based in South Korea
Welcome to Video, the site used by paedophiles around the world, has now been shut down and replaced with this message
The arrests were made in 38 countries including the UK, Ireland, America, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic and Canada.
The man suspected of being behind the website was arrested in South Korea, Jong Woo Son, is currently serving an 18-month sentence in his own country.
It is thought American authorities will attempt to extradite him to face justice in the U.S. The site has also been removed from the dark web.
The site was uncovered when police arrested Cambridge graduate Dr Matthew Falder, a geophysicist from an affluent family who led a secret life trading images of child sex abuse.
He later admitted 137 offences, including voyeurism, encouraging child rape, and sharing images showing the abuse of a newborn baby, and has been jailed for 25 years.
The National Crime Agency, Britain’s equivalent of the FBI, found a link to the website, which then sparked a global investigation.
The subsequent police probes led to the arrest of Kyle Fox, who filmed his sexual attacks on a five-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl. He appeared on footage on the ‘Welcome to Video’ site, raping a young girl.
Fox, from the upmarket London commuter town of Epsom in Surrey, was later jailed for 22 years.
The NCA uncovered Welcome To Video during its investigation into the geophysicist Dr Matthew Falder. His computer is pictured
Police today released an image of what the website looked like. It included a message telling users not to upload adult porn
One of the screenshots shows a points system. In order to download the videos hosted on the site, the user had to spend ‘points’. These points could be acquired by either uploading videos or purchasing using bitcoins
The British NCA’s Nikki Holland said today: ‘Dark web child sex offenders – some of whom are the very worst offenders – cannot hide from law enforcement.
‘They’re not as cloaked as they think they are, they’re not as safe as they think they are.
‘The NCA is relentless in pursuing them and we have specialist capabilities, which we use for all UK law enforcement, to unmask them and help take down sites like Welcome To Video.
‘I’m immensely proud of the role we played in catching some very depraved and dangerous global offenders and for beginning the work that eventually caught Jong Woo Son.’
The US Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said today: ‘Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behavior.
‘This Administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield.
‘Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Department of Justice remains firmly committed to working closely with our partners in South Korea and around the world to rescue child victims and bring to justice the perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes.’
Details of the investigation were released at a press conference at the U.S. Department of Justice today, which was attended by officials from the UK and South Korea
US attorney Jessie Liu added: ‘Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims.
‘We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United States and abroad, to ensure they receive the punishment their terrible crimes deserve.’
The six British men caught using the sick ‘Welcome To Video’ site
- Kyle Fox, 26, from Surrey, jailed for 22 years after admitting 14 charges – including seven rapes – against a five-year-old boy, and five charges of sexual assault against a three-year-old girl. Two unrelated children were safeguarded.
- Andrew Buckley, 28, of Minster, Ramsgate, sentenced to 40 months in jail. Admitted 10 offences of possession and distribution of indecent images of children, possession of extreme and prohibited images and possession of a class A drug. He is also subject to an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order. Buckley purchased credits with bitcoin and uploaded three category A videos to W2V.
- Daniel Farrar, 21, of Worthing, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to several counts relating to indecent images of children (IIOC); community penalties imposed and placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
- Lemuel Hui, 22, of Belfast, admitted several IIOC counts. Community penalties imposed and placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
- Charlie Peters, 27, of Backwell, North Somerset, admitted making IIOC. Sentenced to eight months in jail suspended for two years.
- Leon Scott, 41, of Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, admitted IIOC offences. Placed on the Sex Offenders Register and subject to a sexual harm prevention order.
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