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British Police Smash Internet Child Pornography Ring

Aired January 11, 2001 - 4:38 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Police in Britain say they have smashed one of the world's largest Internet child pornography networks. The network operated under the banner, The Wonderland Club.

CNN London bureau chief Tom Mintier has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM MINTIER, CNN LONDON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The unsealed court documents show raids conducted across Britain, Australia, the United States and nine other European countries resulted in more than 100 arrests since 1998. According to the documents, seven British men have pled guilty in court and will be sentenced next month. Under British law, the men will face a maximum prison term of three years for the charge of distribution of indecent images of children.

DET. SUPT. PETER SPINDLER, NATIONAL CRIME SQUAD: They have amassed about 3/4 of a million images of absolutely the most disgusting and degrading treatment I have ever seen of children.

MINTIER: One man who was arrested in this case in 1998 is already serving a one-year jail term. The British government is moving to change the law and increase prison terms for offenses like these to 10 years. The courts may also order the British men to be listed on the nation's sex offender register. One person convicted in this case was ordered to have his name listed for 10 years.

In Portsmouth last year, residents demonstrated, often violently, outside the home of a convicted pedophile. His name was not only listed on the sex offender register, but in the pages of the top- selling tabloid, "The News of the World," along with 81 others.

That program promoted by the newspaper was called "Name and Shame." In this current case, police say there are more than 1,200 youngsters featured in the porn collection. So far, they have identified only a very small percentage of them.

Tom Mintier, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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