A man who allegedly posed as a teenager to lure underage girls to a chat group where child pornography was distributed and shared is among the three accused online child sexual predators arrested last week.
The trio was nabbed in a joint operation by the South African Police Service (SAPS) Serial and Electronic Crime Investigations unit and the US Department of Homeland Security.
In a statement, SAPS says this brings the number of online child sexual predators that have been arrested since November to seven.
The other four were arrested in November last year, it says, adding three were arrested in Gauteng and one in KwaZulu-Natal.
These arrests form part of an international operation to trace manufacturers, users and distributors of child pornography.
The three suspects were arrested in Worcester, Kraaifontein and Mitchell’s Plain.
According to SAPS, a 53-year-old man from Worcester was the first to be arrested on Wednesday, 17 January.
It says he has so far been found with 95 000 images and 6 000 videos of child pornography. He faces a charge of accessing, distributing and possession of child pornography.
The second suspect, a 40-year-old man, was arrested in Kraaifontein on Thursday, 18 January. He was found with more than 149 000 pictures of child pornography as well as over 5 000 videos in his possession, the police service says.
He was allegedly found in possession of two unlicensed firearms and various calibre of ammunition, as well as nine snakes, of which three did not have a permit.
The suspect is facing charges of possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, possession, distribution and accessing of child pornography.
SAPS adds that a 32-year-old man from Mitchell’s Plan was the third suspect to be arrested on Friday, 19 January. He was found to be chatting to and luring underage girls on a chat group where nude pictures where exchanged.
All suspects appeared before various courts, such as Worcester, Kraaifontein and Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court, where their cases were postponed for further investigation.