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Peter Davis, right, of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, United Kingdom and Director of Europol Rob Wainwright outline details of arrests during "Operation Rescue" linked to a global child abuse network during a news conference in The Hague March 16, 2011. (JERRY LAMPEN/JERRY LAMPEN/REUTERS)
Peter Davis, right, of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, United Kingdom and Director of Europol Rob Wainwright outline details of arrests during "Operation Rescue" linked to a global child abuse network during a news conference in The Hague March 16, 2011. (JERRY LAMPEN/JERRY LAMPEN/REUTERS)

Two Canadians arrested in global child-porn investigation Add to ...

Two Canadians were arrested as part of what police are calling the largest Internet child-abuse ring yet uncovered after a three-year operation that saw 184 arrests worldwide and the rescue of 230 children.



Operation Rescue targeted an online forum called "boylover.net," based in the Netherlands but with a global clientele. At a news conference Wednesday morning in The Hague, police said the network spread to 30 countries with 70,000 members.



As part of the operation in Canada, Philip Publuske, 40, was arrested in Kitchener, Ont., late last year on charges of distribution and possession of child pornography.



"We were alerted in early November and he was arrested several days later," said Olaf Heinzel of the Waterloo Police.



Mr. Publuske was remanded in custody and will next appear in court on March 28.



In Abernethy, southeast of Regina, the Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation Unit arrested a 69-year old man named David John Lapage on similar charges in November, 2009. At the time, they did not disclose his alleged connection to the global network.



"We kept back details in order not to potentially jeopardize investigations in other countries," said Sergeant Patrick Nogier, the unit's provincial co-ordinator.



Mr. Lapage, out on bail since his arrest, faces a preliminary hearing on May 18.



Led by the British Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, the investigation began in 2007 and brought together teams from Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Europe.



Police say the website offered people the chance to discuss their sexual interest in young boys without committing any offences, but "below the radar" they used private channels to exchange "illegal images and films of children being abused."



In Britain, police say the suspects range in age from 17 and 82, and include police officers, Boy Scout leaders and teachers.



"While these offenders felt anonymous in some way because they were using the Internet to communicate, the technology was actually being used against them," said Peter Davies, the head of British child-exploitation unit. "Everything they did online was tracked by following the digital footprint."

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