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Global child-porn ring uncovered

Story Highlights

• No one has been arrested
• More than 8,000 hits recorded from 2,361 suspects in 77 countries in 24 hours
• FBI investigating suspects in the United States as part of the probe
• Material was downloaded from Russia-based file-sharing site
From Frederik Pleitgen
CNN
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VIENNA, Austria (CNN) -- Austrian police have uncovered a massive child-pornography ring on the Internet, tracking downloads of sexually violent material to more than 2,300 people in 77 countries, a government official said.

"This is the biggest case of child-porn distribution ever discovered in Austria," Interior Minister Guenther Platter told reporters on Wednesday. "This is a very important crackdown, and it is dealing with the most disgusting criminal acts against the most helpless members of society."

"It is amazing that within 24 hours, more than 8,000 hits were recorded from 2,361 suspects from 77 countries," he said.

None of the people believed to have downloaded the porn have been arrested, said Gerald Hesztera, a spokesman for Austria's federal police service. But 14 of 23 people questioned in Austria have admitted to taking the material off a Russian-based file-sharing site, he added.

A site administrator in Austria tipped police off to eight digital-video clips that included scenes of children between the ages of 5 and 14 being sexually molested or raped, Hesztera said. Police monitored the site for several months beginning in July, he said.

Hundreds of the addresses tracked back to users in Germany, France and the United States.

The FBI said it was investigating suspects in the United States and working with authorities in Austria and other nations as part of the probe. About 600 of the suspects were being investigated in the United States alone, said Platter, according to a report from The Associated Press.

German authorities were following leads on another 400 people, and France was looking into more than 100 others, AP reported.


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"Within 24 hours, more than 8,000 hits were recorded from 2,361 suspects from 77 countries."

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