Interpol alerted Singapore police to man who shared child porn online

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
young girl sitting down alone in the dark.
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — After joining a WhatsApp chat group that shared obscene material, a Bangladeshi man working in Singapore became addicted to pornography.

The construction worker began joining other groups and quickly became hooked on sexual material featuring children, eventually circulating such material himself.

When Zahidul was arrested by Singapore police, he was found with 83 videos depicting child abuse in his two mobile phones.

The 36-year-old, who only goes by one name, was jailed for six months on Thursday (8 October) after he pleaded guilty to one count each of transmitting obscene objects to a WhatsApp chat group on 9 November 2017 and of possessing 83 videos containing child pornography on 30 June this year. One count of possessing obscene films was taken into consideration for sentencing.

In 2017, Zahidul came across a link on Facebook which took him to a WhatsApp group whose users shared obscene material. After viewing these material, Zahidul became addicted and joined other groups that were recommended to him by members of his first group.

He joined more social groups on Telegram and Line which also shared pornographic material. In the same year, he joined another WhatsApp group that circulated material of children being sexually abused. He developed a liking for these videos and became addicted, according to the prosecution.

To satisfy his addiction, Zahidul began downloading such videos on social messaging applications for his own viewing pleasure, as well as sharing them on other groups.

On 9 November 2017, Zahidual shared two videos that he had downloaded to a WhatsApp group, which had 256 members.

Zahidul escaped attention here until 22 June 2020, when the Singapore Police Force received information from the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) that Zahidul had shared two videos featuring minors being sexually abused by adults.

Acting on the information, the police visited Zahidul’s residence and arrested him. The two mobile phones belonging to him were then seized. A total of 1,290 obscene videos were found in the phones, 83 of which involved children aged from 1 to 14 years old. Most of these children were pre-pubescent who were engaged in sexual acts with adult men or other children.

Zahidul had been expanding his collection of child pornography for at least three years, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheldon Lim, who asked for a jail term of at least 12 months.

The prosecutor said that the production, distribution and possession of such material have increased with technological advancements.

“The possession of child abuse material is not a victimless crime. To the children who become the subjects of these materials, the videos and photographs are a lasting monument to their loss of innocence,” DPP Lim said.

“These children not only have to deal with the abuse that they have suffered, they must also live with the knowledge that a permanent record of that abuse lives on, long after the abuse itself has ended.”

Zahidul, who was not represented, asked for leniency in mitigation and said that he had family members who were dependent on his earnings.

For transmitting obscene material, Zahidul could have been jailed up to three months and/or fined.

For possessing child abuse material, he could have been jailed up to five years, and fined or caned.

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