More than 400 paedophiles who exchanged lurid child pornography material had been identified following a major sting by Italian police.
“It is the biggest police operation in recent years against online child pornography,’’ resulting from two years of undercover investigations, a Wednesday statement said.
Investigations revealed the existence of 159 groups and channels on Whats-app and Telegram used to share photos and videos of children being sexually abused, including babies, police said.
Some 432 people participated in the activity, including 81 Italians and 351 foreigners. 15 of them were arrested red-handed, police said.
Two of the alleged ringmasters of the child pornography groups were identified as a 71-year-old optician from Naples and an unemployed 20-year-old man from the Venice area.
Police said other suspects came from various walks of life, including professionals, blue-collar workers, students, pensioners, a local police officer, with ages ranging from 18 to 71. (dpa/NAN)