OPP Lay Charges in Precedent-Setting Child Porn Case

OPP Lay Charges in Precedent-Setting Child Porn Case

The Ontario Provincial Police are calling a multinational child pornography investigation precedent-setting, after seven years of work and charges against five GTA men. 

On Thursday, members of the OPP, Toronto Police and U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced charges in 
"Project Greenwell/Blackheath." 

It began in 2012 when a man from Vietnam contacted a Toronto-firm named YesUpMedia to set up a site, with the Toronto Police Service receiving tips about the site. 

In six months, the site attracted almost 60,000 users from 116 countries, including a third of users paying subscriptions for more content before it was shut down.

"This is the first time that the web hosts have been charged as party to the offences of possessing and making available," OPP Major Case Manager David MacDonald said. 

MacDonald said due to the complexity of the case - as well as charging and shutting down the web hosts - the hope is it'll serve as an example for similar operations in other countries. 

Although the site was shut down after 32 servers were seized, MacDonald said the operation took years to complete for various reasons. 

First, the OPP in 2012 didn't have the online storage necessary for the massive amount of data, so they had to build the infrastructure and copy all the content. 

The service also had to pinpoint the exact connections between the local men and the Vietnam administrator and while MacDonald didn't get into details, he said they were aware of the site's content. 

"These are not simple images of children in bathing suits, these are really, really horrific," MacDonald said. "We have to exercise real care and diligence about who views them." 

While there were multiple officers involved in seeing the porn, only one specialized OPP officer was tasked with categorizing it, with psychological assistance in place. 

"If it's traumatic for us to view, can you imagine the children?" MacDonald said. 

MacDonald said they looked to see if there was a pattern of child victims, but said they came from all nationalities. 

He added while he couldn't get into details, some of the child victims had been saved. 

The accused are:

40-year-old Zhen He (Patrick) Zeng of Richmond Hill
42-year-old Zhen Yu (Jeff) Zeng of Richmond Hill 
52-year-old Chin Choi (Peter) Kok of Richmond Hill 
47-year-old Sui Hua (Jeff) Ye of Aurora 
31-year-old Wen (Larry) Li of Toronto 

They are scheduled to appear in court August 1st. 

But there's also a warrant out for Binh Ngu Yen of Vietnam, the alleged administrator of the site. 

"At some point, I expect that we'll be able to take him into custody," he said. 

Daniel Hittner with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security said in the U.S., there were 2,000 potential users identified, as well as 500 lead packages sent out.

"It certainly has had a large impact in the United States and we continue to support our partners here in Canada and here in Ontario and internationally on these types of investigations," he said. 

OPP Thomas Carrique, who has only been on the job for about two months, commended his investigators. 

"This the type of investigation that no police service can conduct on their own, but there needs to be that greater ability of technical skill, investigative ability and I couldn't be prouder," he said. 

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