The police have arrested 23 men, aged between 22 and 61, during an operation targeting online child sexual exploitation activities.
Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department conducted raids at multiple locations islandwide during the five-week operation, according to the Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) Mar. 27 news release.
The police seized all electronic devices, including computers, handphones and hard disks.
Besides arresting the 23 men, the police are also investigating a 44-year-old man.
SPF said the men are suspected of possessing, distributing and gaining access to child abuse materials.
They are also suspected of transmitting and possessing obscene materials.
SPF said some of the men have been referred to the Home Team Community Assistance and Referral Scheme (HT CARES).
At HT CARES, social workers, also known as CARES officers, will conduct social triaging on the men and will assess whether further intervention is needed.
Any person who has in possession, or has gained access to child abuse material, and knows or has reason to believe that the material is child abuse material shall be guilty of an offence.
If convicted, they can be jailed up to five years and are liable to a fine or caning.
It is also an offence to distribute, or sell, or offer for sale child abuse material or have in the possession child abuse material for the purpose of such distribution, sale or offer for sale, while knowing or having a reason to believe that the material is child abuse material.
Convicted offenders can be jailed up to seven years and are liable to a fine or caning
Whoever lets to hire, distributes, transmits by electronic means, publicly exhibits, or in any manner puts into circulation, or for purposes of sale, hire, distribution, transmission, public exhibition or circulation, makes, produces, or has in his possession any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, representation or figure, or any other obscene object whatsoever can be jailed up to three months, be issued a fine, or both.
Persons found guilty of possessing any obscen can be fined up to S$20,000, jailed up to six months, or both.
SPF said it will continue to take tough enforcement action against online child sexual exploitation activities, including the possession and distribution of child abuse materials.
Those found engaging in such activities will be dealt with sternly in accordance with the law.
Top image courtesy of Singapore Police Force.