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German police swoop over child sex abuse images

Federal police in Germany have searched the homes of 67 people suspected of using an internet platform to share child sexual abuse images. The raids follow the arrests of 14 people over material shared on the darknet.

Police on Thursday said investigators had searched the homes of 67 suspects over a two-week period in July.

The suspects, aged between 18 and 80, were suspected of sharing videos and images of child sexual abuse over the online platform Chatstep.

Police said the individuals were identified with the help of "very good cooperation" from the operators of the service.  Like other US-based service providers, Chatstep is obliged to tell US authorities about any cases in which child abuse images were exchanged.

There was no mention of whether arrests had been made.

Read: Regensburg Domspatzen choir: More than 500 boys abused

The raids were carried out across Germany between July 5 and July 19, chiefly in the states of Lower Saxony and Hesse.

The news follows a successful swoop earlier this month against the darknet sharing platform Elysium, which was shut down after an investigation that lasted several weeks. Police across Europe arrested 14 people, with the main suspect being a 39-year-old German believed to have been the administrator of the platform.

Read: German study reveals the scope of child sexual abuse within families

Elysium, which had more than 87,000 members, was geared to an international audience across several languages.

The darknet is frequently used for a range of illegal activities, which include illegal file sharing, drug dealing and the selling of weapons.

rc/ng (AFP, dpa)

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