A 20-year-old Queensland resident accused of producing an image and recording that depict the sexual abuse of a boy in the Philippines is expected to face a Brisbane court today, after authorities allegedly found the abhorrent material on his electronic devices.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is now working with its law enforcement counterparts in Manila to identify the 12-year-old victim and ensure he is safe.
The 20-year-old man was arrested yesterday (18 February) after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers selected him for screening when he arrived at Brisbane International Airport on a flight from the Philippines.
The man, who was born in the Philippines, is an Australian resident who lives in Mackay.
ABF officers examined the man’s baggage and seized three mobile phones, an iPad and a laptop computer.
An initial examination of some of the devices allegedly revealed a photograph and recorded video conversation between the 20-year-old and a young boy that were sexually explicit.
ABF referred the matter to investigators from the Queensland Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (Qld JACET), who arrested the 20-year-old man.
The man was refused bail and he is expected to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court today charged with:
- using a carriage service to access child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19 (1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code (Cth). This offence carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment;
- making child exploitation material, contrary to section 228B of the Criminal Code 1899 (QLD). The maximum penalty for this offence is 20 years imprisonment.
The man was also charged with importing a Tier 2 good, namely child abuse material, contrary to section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth). This offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $525,000.
A forensic examination of the seized electronic devices is ongoing.
AFP Commander Investigations Andrew Donoghoe, Northern Command, said international borders are no hindrance to child predators and strong law enforcement partnerships are crucial to fighting the vile behaviour.
“The AFP is tireless in our pursuit to stop children suffering sexual abuse, regardless of where they live,” Commander Donoghoe said.
“We are committed to working with our state and international partners to take all necessary action to protect children in Australia and internationally from sexual exploitation.”
ABF Regional Commander QLD, Chris Waters said we will not tolerate any attempts from visitors or citizens trying to import objectionable and offensive materials into our country.
“Tackling child exploitation is an operational priority for the ABF and our officers are highly skilled at identifying people at our airports who are involved in, or carrying this abhorrent material.”
“Our message is simple, you will be caught, arrested and charged”