Child sex offender jailed for 48.5 years and four children rescued after joint international investigation
One of global law enforcement’s most wanted child sex offenders who abused dozens of victims aged between two and 16 years old has been jailed for 48 years and six months in Malaysia after Australian victim identification specialists helped expose his online alias and track him to a COVID quarantine centre.
The 40-year-old Malaysian man from Lundu in Sarawak was arrested on 5 July, 2021 by the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP). The man shared child abuse material on multiple online platforms starting in April 2007, with global law enforcement agencies linking him to more than a thousand media files depicting the sexual abuse of minors.
An internal police report created in 2019 with global law enforcement partners involved in victim identification listed the online alias used by the man as one of the ‘Top 10’ offenders involved in child exploitation on the internet.
Analysis conducted by Australian victim identification specialists identified 34 victims abused by the man, however authorities believe the number of victims may be higher, and enquiries are continuing to identify any further potential victims of abuse. On 16 July, 2021, RMP advised the AFP that four children aged between nine and 14 years old who had been abused by the man had been rescued.
The man posted messages and chats in online child sexual exploitation communities claiming to have sexually abused children and of having recorded his crimes.
Australian authorities, including the AFP and Queensland Police Service (QPS) specialists at the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) and the AFP and AUSTRAC’s Kuala Lumpur posts, played a key role identifying the man behind the online alias and locating him to enable his arrest by the RMP.
The chase to identify the online offender ramped up in August 2020 when the AFP Kuala Lumpur post received information from the ACCCE’s Victim Identification Unit, which includes co-located members of Queensland Police Service Argos Child Victim Identification Unit.
AFP officers in Kuala Lumpur worked with the RMP’s Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division (D11), the ACCCE team, US Homeland Security Investigations Kuala Lumpur and AUSTRAC to confirm the suspect’s identity and find him before he could abuse any more children.
Earlier this year (2021), AUSTRAC worked with relevant Malaysian authorities to obtain financial and identifying information for the offender. These included an image which matched the image of the man found on social media by ACCCE investigators.
Australian victim identification specialists helped to track the man, with investigations culminating in Malaysia, where he was located and arrested by the RMP after he was released from COVID quarantine.
He plead guilty to 18 charges on August 16 and 17 in the Kuching Sessions Court and was sentenced to serve 48 years and six months in jail and receive 15 strokes of the cane.
AFP Commander South East Asia Warwick Macfarlane said this investigation is a reminder that police and partners around the world are working tirelessly to combat the exploitation and abuse of children.
"Our common goal is to protect children, wherever they live, and ensure anyone who tries to harm them is identified and brought before the courts," Commander Macfarlane said.
“The community should be reassured that the impact of COVID in Australia and overseas has not hampered our ability to tackle this horrific crime.”
QPS Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group Detective Acting Superintendent Mark White said every day Argos investigators are online, monitoring a range of platforms and targeting predators who are attempting to exploit children.
“Queensland Police will continue sharing our expertise and working collaboratively with our national, interstate and international counterparts to target those who pose a risk to children in our community,” he said.
The head of the RMP’s D11 division Assistant Commissioner Siti Kamsiah Hassan said she was grateful for the assistance of the AFP in locating the offender.
“In spite of Covid, we will continue to protect the safety of children in Malaysia,” she said.
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