A former taxi driver exiled in Paraguay and his three marginal acolytes are accused of having set up and animated a major child pornography network on the “darknet”, frequented by no less than 374,000 members.
Correspondent in Berlin
Shortly after taking refuge in Paraguay and fleeing Germany where he was already being prosecuted for child abuse, Kristian Manfred K. shared his relief on social media. “Here, it’s much less stressful, I feel more secure” wrote the former taxi driver from Schleswig Holstein, a Baltic Sea coastal Land. The 58-year-old man, who did not intend to return to his country before retirement, is currently awaiting extradition after his arrest three weeks ago by police in this small Central American state. He was one of the main animators of a gigantic child pornography network, called « Boys Town », the city of children.
The details of the arrest and the short biography of Christian K., coupled with that of his three acolytes, published Tuesday in the daily picture, have little to do with white-collar cyber delinquency. Sporting a long beard, the scruffy-looking man is photographed by Paraguayan police as investigators carry out searches of his seedy hacienda in Bélen, in the center of the country. Cell phones and a used computer are lying around on an outdoor table, meal crumbs dot the floor, as if such a large network – with no less than 374,000 members – were managed by a quartet of marginal. Effective for three weeks, the arrest of cybercriminals was announced Monday by the judicial police of Hesse (Frankfurt). They are punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Instructions to escape the police
Besides Christian Manfred K., the gang was led by a computer programmer from Munich, working for a youth publishing house. Named Alexander, the 48-year-old man allegedly carried out his criminal activities at night in the cellar of his pavilion, without the knowledge of his wife and four children. It was there that he was arrested in flagrante delicto on April 14 at 8:30 p.m. According to picture, the programmer uploaded child pornography novels, entitled “The story of a father” (67 chapters) or “Dennis and his experiences” (39 chapters). In particular, it would have monetized its services in bitcoins.
The other two defendants, an unemployed 64-year-old and a 40-year-old cook, are from the same region of the Rhineland, and were communicating with each other through the Swiss encrypted messaging service, Threema. Former owner of a local pub, the cook returned to Germany after going bankrupt in Marbella, Spain, where he had temporarily emigrated in 2008. Since then, he has lived on odd jobs with his mother.
The arrest of the four men, presented as the “Administrators of the child pornography platform”, represents a “Fantastic success in the fight against sexual violence against minors”, welcomed the Minister of Justice of the region of Hesse, Eva Kühne-Hörmann. They are suspected of having managed the technical implementation of the platform on the Darknet and the maintenance of the server. They recruited new customers, and sent their members security instructions supposed to allow them to escape police surveillance. In recent years, Germany has dismantled several child pornography networks.
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