More than 300 people have been arrested across 38 countries following the take-down of one of the world’s “largest dark web child porn marketplaces”, investigators have said. The UK’s National Crime Agency said arrests had been made in the UK, Ireland, America, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic and Canada – among others.
The site, named “Welcome to Video”, was run from South Korea and had more than 200,000 videos which had collectively been downloaded more than a million times. It was discovered during an investigation into paedophile Matthew Falder from England, who was subsequently jailed for 25 years for sharing abuse tips and images on the dark web.
It was taken down by an international task force that included agencies from the UK, the US, South Korea and Germany after operating for three years and was “one of the first to offer sickening videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin,” the UK’s National Crime Agency said. As a direct result of the investigation about 23 children have been rescued from active abuse situations and they are continuing to trace other children seen in the videos.
Suspects were identified after crime agencies traced the site’s cryptocurrency transactions back to them. US officials unsealed nine indictments against the site’s owner Jong Woo Son, 23, from South Korea – where he is currently in prison.
In the UK seven men have already been convicted in connection with the investigation, including Kyle Fox who was jailed for 22 years last March for the rape of a five-year-old boy and who appeared on the site sexually abusing a three-year-old girl.
“Dark web child sex offenders…cannot hide from law enforcement,” the UK’s National Crime Agency investigations lead, Nikki Holland, said and added “They’re not as cloaked as they think they are, they’re not as safe as they think they are.”