South Africa 'cracks child porn ring with global links'

Computer keyboard Police say they have seized laptops and hard drives

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South Africa's police have arrested six men suspected of being part of an international child pornography ring, a spokesman has said.

The suspects, who include teachers and a legal officer, are believed to have links with the US, Canada, the UK and other European countries, reports say.

Images showed children "suffering extreme forms of violence", South Africa's The Times newspaper reports.

The arrests were carried out following raids on 15 properties, police said.

Investigators had confiscated 672 DVDs, 22 memory sticks, eight laptops, 39 external hard drives and 25 books, police spokesman Solomon Makgale added.

'Interpol tip-off'

"The initial charge was possession, but we suspect that they're involved in manufacturing, import and export as well as mass-distribution," Mr Makgale told AFP news agency.

"The indications are there. They had cameras. They had these external hard drives," he added.

Mr Makgale said the arrested men included a school headmaster, two teachers and a legal officer.

They were arrested during raids in five of South Africa's nine provinces following a tip-off by Interpol, he added.

The headmaster has been dismissed by the prestigious private school that employed him in the north-eastern city of Nelspruit, The Times reports.

"The agreement follows his arrest for allegedly being in possession of child pornography," the school is quoted as saying in a letter sent to parents.

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