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Malaysian student sentenced to home detention for child sex images

Press Release – New Zealand Customs Service
An student from Malaysia was today sentenced at the Auckland District Court to nine months’ home detention for distributing and possessing child sexual abuse material. This marks the second successful Customs prosecution in two weeks.

Shakthinidhi Karananidi, a 21 year old international student from Malaysia, pleaded guilty to 20 distribution charges and 11 possession charges last November.

“Karananidi had deleted the material from his laptop but that didn’t save him. Customs’ electronic forensics team were able to retrieve it and gather evidence that connected him to an online peer-to-peer file sharing network,” Customs’ Acting Group Manager Investigations and Response, Shane Panettiere says.

“Customs places high priority against this type of offending and we work on a number of such cases each month. Our child exploitation operations team and prosecutions team work tirelessly to investigate suspects, identify child victims and prosecute offenders.”

“We also work closely with NZ Police OCEANZ, Internal Affairs and various international agencies, so each prosecution is the result of a wide network committed to disrupting the online trading of child sexual exploitation material and identification of victims,” Mr Panettiere adds.

In March 2012, Customs officers executed a search warrant at Karananidi’s central city residence after an investigation linked him to information received from NZ Police and a US agency.

Forensic examination of his laptop found 26,092 images, 771 movies, 43 compressed electronic files and 110 electronic documents – 98% of the files were deemed objectionable. Many of these depicted severe child sexual abuse, including the abuse of babies and children.

“Any sexual or other abuse involving a child is horrific – but with online trading the child is victimised again and again every time their image is viewed on the internet. Offenders like Karananidi directly contribute to this,” Mr Panettiere says.

A United Nations study published in 2009 estimated 750,000 sexual predators were online at any time, between 10,000 and 100,000 minors are victims of child sexual abuse networks, and 200 new child sexual abuse images are circulated daily. This is believed to be growing exponentially.

Earlier this month a New Plymouth teenager was sentenced to 10 months’ home detention following a Customs prosecution for importing, distributing and possessing child sexual abuse material.

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