Feeds

Paedo ring sysadmins jailed for 11 years

Operation Informal

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Infographic

Two British men yesterday began prison sentences totalling 11 years and three months for their involvement in a sophisticated paedophile ring.

Simon Chan, a 27 year-old IT engineer from Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, was sentenced to a total of five and half years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute indecent images and admitting 20 counts of making indecent images.

Robert Pearson, aged 50, a former deputy head teacher at Campion High School in Liverpool, pleaded guilty to 22 counts of making indecent images, one count of Conspiracy to distribute indecent images and three counts of indecent assault. He was sentenced to five years and nine months imprisonment.

Both men were also disqualified from working with children for life and placed on the Sex Offenders Register, again for life.

The men were part of a worldwide Internet paedophile network that broadcast abuse of children live on the Internet. The group was also involved in making and distributing indecent photographs and movies, according to investigators.

The abuse by these groups - called "Insurance" and "Holiday PartyTime" - came to light through Operation Informal, which began last July.

Operation Informal involved officers from the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit working with law enforcement around the world to track down the owners and administrators of the secure areas on the Internet frequented by members of the two groups.

The trail that led to Chan and Pearson began when officers from the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) examined a US computer used by members of the two groups. This led to the identification of Simon Chan, a 27 year-old security IT engineer from Staines, through his nickname 'XMASBUNNY'. Officers from the NHTCU arrested Chan on 14 August 2002 and carried out an extensive search of his home.

Further examination of the computer and interviewing of Chan also identified another UK member, Robert Pearson (nicknames 'Eagle' and 'Harpy'), then a deputy head teacher at Campion High School in Everton, Merseyside. Pearson was arrested on 21 August 2002.

The duo acted as sysadmins for the network and so their arrests and conviction are seen as some of the most significant of Operation Informal.

The paedophile groups, which had their own rules and regulations, employed "sophisticated techniques" to exchange files over secure servers in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement agencies, the NHTCU says.

A large quantity of computers and digital media was retrieved from the homes of these two men, including hard drives, CD-ROMs and videos. Chan's computer media alone contained more than 100 GB of material - equating to 28,000 images and 3,000 videos. Pearson's computers contained 60,000 images and 5,000 videos.

NHCTU officer received a commendation from Judge Addison for their work in uncovering Pearson and Chan's crimes.

Detective Superintendent Mick Deats, deputy head of the NHTCU, said: "We are delighted with the sentences handed out to these men. This was a lengthy and complicated operation, which drew on all the specialist skills of our officers. Most importantly, a child who was identified as a result of this operation is no longer at risk.

"This group used some of the most sophisticated encryption, and through computer forensic techniques we were able to crack some of the encryption used and recover images as evidence.

"We are determined to identify, target and prosecute criminals who abuse children on or off-line, and want to send a clear message to other abusers that there is no hiding place for paedophiles on the Internet." ®

Related Stories

International child porn ring smashed
US.gov builds huge child porn database
UK police swoop in child porn raids
Police swoop on Internet paedophiles
On stats and chatroom paedophiles
Child porn list leaked to Sunday Times
Net porn policeman jailed for 18 months
Child porn 'librarian' jailed for 2 years
Watch out! There's a chatroom paedophile about

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.