Tourist's sickening crimes funded three-month Australian holiday

Brianne Tolj
·2-min read

A Belgian tourist paid for his Australian holiday by selling child sex abuse material online, police say.

The 26-year-old man pleaded guilty to child exploitation charges at the Downing Centre District Court in Sydney on October 15, Australian Federal Police (AFP) said on Saturday.

The man arrived in Australia from Thailand in November 2018 and travelled around the country over three months.

He was arrested on April 8 last year at a Sydney youth hostel after AFP were tipped off by the US’s National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children that a man in the country was uploading child abuse material to Snapchat.

The man being arrested on April 8 last year at a Sydney youth hostel by Australian Federal Police.
The Belgian tourist was arrested on April 8 last year at a Sydney youth hostel after AFP were tipped off by the US’s National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. Source: AFP

“The AFP traced the digital trail and discovered the user was advertising a website selling explicit child abuse material on a number of social media platforms, including Tumblr, Snapchat and Instagram,” police said in a press release.

He was also revealed to be the administrator of a website that sold packs of child pornography for US$50 (AU$70) each.

The Belgian national was charged with supplying child pornography, using a carriage service to access, transmit, make available, publish, distribute, advertising or promote child abuse material, and deal with the proceeds of crime worth $10,000 or more.

The 26-year-old had been selling the child porn from September 2018 until his arrest to fund his lifestyle and holidays around the world, AFP said.

He has been sentenced to four years in jail with a non-parole period of two-and-a-half years.

The man's website has been taken down and AFP has seized roughly $30,000 in profits, camera equipment and scuba gear.

This seizure also included two bank accounts – one in Australia holding about $16,400, and another in Germany holding €8000 (AU$13,295).

Pictured is the camera equipment and scuba gear. Source: AFP
The man's website has been taken down and AFP has seized roughly $30,000 in profits, camera equipment and scuba gear. Source: AFP

"The investigation started with a clue that someone, somewhere, was trying to advertise the exploitation of children for profit,'' AFP Assistant Commissioner Eastern Command Justine Gough said.

"Thanks to the tenacious work of the Sydney child protection team, a man has now been convicted for trading in the exploitation of children, and we have taken steps to take back the money he made from this abhorrent venture.

"Every image being shared and bought on this website was of a child being abused. Bringing these offenders from online anonymity to jail time is what drives the AFP to keep children safe."

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