German Police Bust International Child Porn Ring

Kat Khan
BERLIN, Germany — German police swooped in on a major child pornography ring today, raiding 113 premises nationwide and seizing computer disks, videos and pictures.

Police in Berlin and Munich said the early morning raids followed an investigation started during October 2004. The investigation led to 111 members of an Internet user group which police said was set up for the exchange of child pornography.

"The members met deliberately to exchange and distribute images of child pornography," a statement released from the police department said.

Police have not made any formal arrests and a Bavarian police spokesman said there is no reason yet to believe the suspects were actively involved in child abuse themselves.

He added that 22 people have admitted to child pornography offences. The examination of the material seized “will take some time and results of the investigation are not yet clear,” he said.

More than 1,000 foreign Internet users were identified as involved with the group and details were passed on to relevant national authorities.

The user group identified by German police was online for just five days in October 2004, during which time almost 1,500 members registered and 2,942 images were posted, most of them pornographic, police said.