Online child porn syndicate suspects arrested in the Western Cape

Seven men suspected of being online child sexual predators have been arrested since November 2023. The men were found with thousands of images and videos of child pornography.

This is according to the Serial and Electronic Crime Investigation Unit (SECI) unit, US Department of Homelands Security and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Posed as teens online to lure victims

Sunday World understands that these men posed as teenagers online to lure underaged girls to a group chat. Unbeknown to the victims, the group chats are used to distribute pornography. 

These arrests form part of an international operation to trace manufacturers, users, and distributors of child pornography. This according to a statement released by the police.

The last three suspects were arrested in Worcester, Kraaifontein and Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape, respectively.

Thousands of child porn images and videos 

“A 53-year-old man from Worcester was the first to be arrested on Wednesday. He has been found with 95,000 images and 6,000 videos of child pornography so far,” said the statement.

The second suspect, a 40-year-old man, was arrested in Kraaifontein on Thursday. He was found with more than 149, 000 pictures of child pornography as well as more than 5,000 child pornography videos.

Two unlicensed firearms and various calibre of ammunition were also found in his possession. In addition, nine snakes were also found in his possession, three of which did not have a permit.

South African law requires a special permit in order to keep a snake.

Firearms, snakes in suspect’s possession

The suspect is facing charges of possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, possession, distribution and accessing of child pornography.

The third suspect, 32-year-old man from Mitchells Plain, was found chatting, luring underage girls on a chat group, where pictures were exchanged.

Police said these men will appear before their various magistrate’s courts soon.


Cybercrime kidnappings of LGBTQI+ community

 Meanwhile, in October 2023, about seven suspects who allegedly lured and kidnapped a Wits University student were apprehended.

According to police, the men are linked to at least 85 cases of kidnappings. They targeted the LGBTQI+ community members, who were targeted and kidnapped for ransom.

They allegedly pose as potential lovers on Grndr, a dating site for the LGBTQI+ community, before kidnapping the victims. This was usually followed by an attempt to extort money from their loved ones.

Wits University student

After the teenager went missing, his roommate reported the matter to the police. A missing person case was opened.

When the police arrested the suspects, the student was discovered in an unconscious state. The victim was rushed to hospital. His belongings were also found at the place where he was kept captive.

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