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SINGAPORE: Twenty-three men were arrested in an islandwide operation targeting online child sexual exploitation activities. 

A 44-year-old man is also being investigated, the police said in a news release on Monday (Mar 27). 

Those arrested, aged between 22 and 61, were suspected of possessing, distributing and gaining access to child abuse materials, circulating obscene materials, as well as possessing obscene films. 

Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department conducted raids at multiple locations across the island. All electronic devices, including computers, handphones and hard disks, were seized in the five-week operation. 

Some of the men have been referred to the Home Team Community Assistance and Referral Scheme (HT CARES), said the police.

“Social workers, also known as CARES officers, will conduct social triaging on the men and will assess whether further intervention is needed.” 

The police added that they will continue to take tough enforcement action against online child sexual exploitation activities, including the possession and distribution of child abuse materials. Those found engaging in such activities will face stern action in accordance with the law. 

Items seized during the operation. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

Under the Penal Code, anyone found guilty of possessing or accessing child abuse material may be jailed for up to five years and fined or caned. 

Those found guilty of distributing, selling, offering the sale of child abuse material, or possessing child abuse material for the above purposes may be jailed for up to seven years and fined or caned. 

For distributing or possessing obscene materials, they may be jailed for up to three months, fined, or both. 

Anyone found guilty of possessing any obscene film may be fined S$20,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both. 

Items seized by the police during the five-week operation. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)