Four Australian men are alleged to be high ranking members of a global paedophile ring busted by a three-year international police effort.
Boylover深圳桑拿网,, an online ring that tried to hide behind claims of legitimate conversation about pedophilia, is the biggest syndicate uncovered by police worldwide.
So far 184 people have been arrested and 230 children rescued around the world, including four in Australia. The suspects include scout leaders, lifesavers and teachers as well as from many other walks of life.
“Four of the 31 offenders arrested in Australia held high-level positions within the network,” a federal police spokeswoman told AAP on Thursday.
A Perth man who is believed to be high profile member of the network is already serving jail time for his crime.
Police say details of the investigation have been kept secret until now for operational reasons.
Others arrested in Australia include 15 in Victoria, eight in NSW and one in Tasmania. The suspects are aged between 19 and 84-years-old. The 84-year-old lives in Thailand and has been charged with “contact sex” offences.
They were members of the Netherlands-based website, which at its height had 70,000 members – most of them men.
Operation Rescue began in 2007 and involved police from Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Europol, The Netherlands and Canada along with investigators from Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
“With over 200 children removed from harm globally, we imagine an even larger number of children were safeguarded elsewhere in the world,” the manager of investigations at the Canberra based high tech crime lab, Grant Edwards, said.
“We will never know the total figure due to it being such a limitless crime. Global law enforcement is working together internationally to protect children wherever they may be in the world.”
Commander Edwards said investigations were continuing with many suspects still being tracked online and leading police to other websites.