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Hundreds Arrested Across 38 Countries in Dark Web Child Abuse Case

More than 300 people have been arrested across the world following the take-down of one of the biggest ever websites to sell child porn on the  dark web.

Now closed, the website  hosted more than 200,000 unique videos showing illegal sex acts committed against children, toddlers and infants, according to an 18-page criminal indictment unsealed in Washington.

That amounts to almost eight terabytes of data containing child abuse images, which drove a Bitcoin based marketplace with 7,300 transactions of the cryptocurrency worth more than $730,000 (£569,000).

Records suggested there were 1.3 million separate Bitcoin accounts, each a potential customer of the depraved site.

The site, named Welcome to Video, was run from South Korean  national Jong Woo Son, a 23-year-old who is currently serving an 18-month prison term in his home country for charges concerning child sex abuse images.

It was shut down last year after a UK investigation into a child sex offender uncovered its existence.

But on Wednesday, officials revealed that 337 suspected users had been arrested across 38 countries.

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.

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.

It was discovered during an investigation into paedophile Matthew Falder from England, who was jailed for 25 years for sharing abuse tips and images on the dark web.

Suspects were identified after crime agencies traced the site’s cryptocurrency transactions back to them.

About 23 children have been rescued from active abuse situations, the joint task force said at a press conference about the operation.

They are continuing to trace other children seen in the videos.

 

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