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SA child porn ring cracked: 46 arrests made so far

Gauteng police say investigators have the capability & skill to clamp down on a ‘kiddy porn’ ring in SA.

FILE. The suspects have been linked to international child pornography rings where the same images were distributed in Belgium and other countries. Picture: SAPS

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Gauteng police say investigative units have the capabilities and skills to clamp down on a child pornography ring identified in South Africa, making 46 arrests since the unit was established earlier this year.

South African officials, working with their Belgian counterparts, have arrested nine people for the possession, manufacturing or distribution of child porn in the last two weeks.

The suspects have been linked to international child pornography rings where the same images were distributed in Belgium and other countries.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says child pornography is a serious problem in South Africa, where it has not been prioritised, nor have police been given the resources to deal with it in the past.

She says the police are dealing with predators on the internet and policing around the world are still catching up with the software needed to stop child abusers.

But head investigator on the provincial unit Heila Niemand says the police are showing its muscle in fighting ' kiddy porn' and suspects are starting to take notice.

She says every arrest made leads to another arrest and they've identified 30 more suspects likely to be arrested soon.

At the same time, Phiyega says cyber-crime generally is difficult to police.

"The internet, while being one of the century's best innovations has become a double-edged sword that we have to deal with. We need to develop better policing capabilities to police crimes that come through this beautiful innovation."

FISH HOEK SUSPECT GETS BAIL

An anti-child abuse group says it is appalled by the number of South Africans implicated in the international child porn syndicate.

Yesterday a Fish Hoek man was granted R5,000 bail in the Simon's Town Magistrates Court.

He was arrested last week and has since been charged with the possession and distribution of child porn.

The 45-year-old resident's family rushed him away from court after posting bail.

Anti-child abuse group Green Hearts' Yvette Wilschutts says they'll continue to call for harsher punishment for those implicated.

"We are also pushing for legislation to be changed to recognise the seriousness of these crimes."

A total of 75 people have been implicated in the syndicate in South Africa.

Fifteen people have been detained on similar child porn related charges in other countries.

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