17 Mar 2011

Kiwi children among victims of busted global paedophile ring

4:34 pm on 17 March 2011

Police have identified children in New Zealand they believe were sexually abused in a global paedophile ring.

Police in several countries have arrested 184 people and identified 670 suspects, including some New Zealanders.

About 230 abused children were rescued.

The global online forum promoting sex between adults and young boys had 70,000 members at its height. It was based in the Netherlands.

European police agency Europol says it is one of the biggest paedophilia rings ever uncovered.

Authorities in more than 30 countries were involved in the operation, including those in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Iceland and Britain.

New Zealand police, Internal Affairs and Customs officials have been involved since 2009.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael says five people have been convicted while another is awaiting trial.

He says 16 New Zealand children have been removed from situations in which they were believed to be at risk. Three have been identified from photographic evidence as victims of sexual offending.

Mr Michael says the boys identified in New Zealand ranged in age from pre-teen to teenage years.

More international arrests are expected.