Killings of Adult Site Operators Raises Questions

Matt O'Conner
MANILA, Philippines — Two Dutch nationals who ran a pair of adult websites were gunned down by police this week during a raid on their offices in the Philippines, despite the fact that no law exists barring such sites.

Brothers Willen and Hendrikus Von Engelburg both died while being treated for gunshot wounds at a nearby medical center, police said.

The two men had been under investigation for operating “cybersex dens” that broadcast web feeds of models engaged in sexual activity to U.S.-based subscribers of two paysites.

Earlier this year, Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared an all-out war against Internet pornography and called on the public to report suspected operations of the so-called cybersex dens to the police.

Because there are no laws in the Philippines specifically forbidding the operation of adult sites, authorities often claim that site operators have forced models to perform and prosecute them for illegal sex trafficking.

Renaldo Jaylo, head of the task force leading the investigation that culminated in the raid, told reporters that the Dutch men kept their sites’ models as sex slaves and forced them at gun point to perform, and that the raid was an effort to rescue the women from sex slavery.

Records showed, however, that the women had been paid roughly $1,000 per month.

Jaylo also said police were forced into a gun fight when the brothers drew .45-caliber pistols and opened fire on them.

“They fought back with the guns they use to scare women into working for them,” he said.

Police seized computers, cameras and sex toys from the house. Hendrikus’ wife, Veronica, and another associate, Edward Lagutan, were arrested.

The Philippine government has come under fire for alleged corruption and human rights violation, which critics say rival those of the notorious Marcos regime.

In particular, the Philippines' national journalists' union has accused the government of “extra-judicial killings” to eliminate its enemies.