Ontario Provincial Police are calling the charges laid following a child porn investigation precedent setting.
According to police, the investigation – code named Project Greenwell – goes back to 2012 and involved an Ontario-based supplier of millions of child pornography images and videos.
Police describe the supplier as a “big box store” of child pornography, with 60,000 users in at least 116 different countries.
OPP, Toronto police and members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security joined forces in the investigation.
“I’m proud of the leadership being demonstrated to address the webhosts and administrators who – in Canada – have a legal duty and a responsibility to respond when they are made aware that illegal content is being trafficked through their infrastructure,” OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in a statement released Thursday.
“Not only have police reduced the number of ‘customers’ who abuse children online, we’ve removed the platform that held their monstrous content.”
Police say they seized 32 servers from the Toronto office, comprising a total capacity of nearly one thousand terabytes of data.
Police allege the men at YesUp knew they were hosting child pornography images. YesUp Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We took the infrastructure used by the website out of operation,” Det. Insp. David MacDonald of Toronto police said. “The OPP is proud of this precedent-setting investigation.”
Five people associated with a company called “YesUp Media” have been charged – Zhen He (Patrick) Zeng,40, of Richmond Hill, Zhen Yu (Jeff) Zeng, 42, of Richmond Hill, Chin Choi (Peter) Kok, 52, of Richmond Hill, Sui Hua (Jeff) Ye, 47, of Aurora and Wen (Larry) Li, 31, of Toronto.
They are scheduled to appear in a Toronto court in August.
Police say a Canada-wide warrant has been issued for a resident of Vietnam.