HONG KONG: Hong Kong police have arrested 13 men for possessing child pornography after a series of raids across the city on Thursday (May 18) morning.
More than 20,000 photographs and 7,000 video clips depicting child sex abuse stored on 18 computers and hard disks were also confiscated by police during the raids, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
The police operation involved 100 officers and was conducted after the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau (CSTCB) gathered intelligence with help from overseas law enforcement agencies, SCMP added.
The 13 suspects, who are all Hong Kong citizens aged between 20 and 46, included technicians, painting workers, delivery workers and unemployed individuals.
Initial investigations showed that the suspects had obtained the material through different channels, including purchasing and downloading them from websites and file-sharing portals, Senior Inspector Fan Chun-yip from the CSTCB was quoted as saying.
He added that there was no indication that the suspects were reselling the files for profit and they downloaded the files for their own viewing.
“Possessing child pornography is a serious offence and carries a maximum penalty of a five-year imprisonment and a HK$1 million (US$128,000) fine,” he reportedly said.
Police said the operation was ongoing and that it was possible that further arrests would be made.
All the suspects were being held for questioning and none of them had been charged, SCMP said.
Senior Inspector Fan added that there was no evidence to a rising trend of child pornography crime in Hong Kong and the raids were part of the police's regular operations against child pornography.