Seoul, South Korea - Nineteen men living in various cities throughout South Korea were arrested Wednesday and charged with crimes linked to the possession, production and distribution of child pornography.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Attaché Office in South Korea and the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s (SMPA) Cyber Crimes Investigations Unit conducted the investigations that led to the arrests.
The investigation, which began in September 2014, was launched following a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Those arrested include 12 Koreans, three Sri Lankans, two Vietnamese citizens, one Indonesian and one Thai national. The arrests were made in Seoul, Busan and Ulsan.
"We commend the SMPA and the government of South Korea for their commitment to investigating cases linked to this unconscionable crime," said HSI Seoul Attaché Taekuk Cho.
"Through actions such as these, we’re sending the global community the message that we will work with any government, agency and nonprofit to seek out and find predators wherever they may be hiding."
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.