Dutch, Australian police bust huge child porn ring


More than 300 people have been arrested during an 18-month investigation into child pornography websites, dubbed "Operation Kidslove"

The Hague (AFP) - Dutch and Australian police with help from the FBI have cracked down on one of the world's largest child pornography websites arresting hundreds of suspects, a Dutch newspaper reported Wednesday.

Dubbed "Operation Kidslove", the 18-month investigation has so far seen 303 arrests including in Australia, Colombia, the Netherlands, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, the authoritative centre-left daily Volkskrant said.

The real name of the child pornography website remains unknown as the probe is continuing, the paper said.

Dutch police could not immediately be reached for comment.

"At least 106 victims have also been traced. Most of them are younger than 12 years," it added.

Australian police arrested the ringleader, a 33-year-old man only identified as Shannon M. on June 14, 2014 at his Adelaide home, shortly after he logged on to the "Kidslove" website under the pseudonym "NUKE".

Investigators took over the former youth worker's computer to chat to other paedophiles on the TOR encryption network, making them believe that they were talking to "NUKE".

Shortly afterwards and using NUKE's computer, Dutch police arrested a 37-year-old man in the eastern Dutch city of Almelo.

The man, identified as Erwin van den B., 37, is believed to be one of NUKE's fellow ringleaders.

"Dutch and Australian investigators in a short space and after intensive cooperation across several time zones managed to arrest two of the heads of (one of) the world's largest child pornography sites," the Volkskrant said.

Further arrests followed with the help of the FBI and police shut down the site, which contains some 360,000 illicit images and has a membership of more than 45,000 world-wide.

Among 303 arrests so far, at least five are from the Netherlands.

Earlier this month an Australian court sentenced Shannon M. to 35 years in jail.

In the Netherlands, Erwin van den B. was sentenced to 18 months in jail in June because prosecutors could not prove he was involved in the actual production of child pornography.

"The investigation is ongoing," Inge Philips, who heads the Dutch police probe into the matter told the paper.

"We will continue to hunt the perpetrators," she said.

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