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SINGAPORE: A man was sentenced to two years’ jail on Tuesday (Mar 28) for having more than 15,000 photos and videos depicting child pornography.

Ansari Abdul Amin, a 36-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child abuse material.

The court heard that Ansari began watching pornographic material using the Telegram messaging app sometime between 2013 and 2014.

He joined adult-themed chat groups on the platform using the username “Rong Yuan”.

He downloaded pornographic videos and photos from the chats and by using a cloud-based storage and file hosting service.

He created two accounts on the online hosting service – the second because the first one exceeded its storage capacity.

Ansari started viewing child abuse material between 2014 and 2015. He would view them twice or thrice a week and subsequently delete the material from his phone.

He later told investigators that he did this for his “own viewing and pleasure”, and would delete any “repeated” videos. He also retained “new” videos to facilitate intended trades with other users.

The material he watched included videos involving babies and children below the age of 11 with adults.

From 2016, Ansari began trading such material with other Telegram users. They would delete their chatlogs after receiving the material from the other party.

On Oct 18, 2021, the police acted on information that Ansari had downloaded child abuse material online and arrested him at his workplace.

The officers raided his home and seized his phones. A search of his online accounts revealed that at least there were 15,850 electronic files containing child abuse material.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryan Wong asked for between two and two-and-a-half years’ jail, calling Ansari’s “depraved thirst for child abuse material” insatiable.

“Having first consumed such material in 2014 or 2015, he satisfied his already voracious appetite by reaching out to – and arranging for mutual trades with similarly depraved individuals which he had found online – for a period of about five years,” said Mr Wong.

“In doing so, he had further degenerated into an active participant who fanned the highly sinister demand for child abuse material; he was no ‘silent’ watcher.”

He said the file names of the material “underscores” Ansari’s “complete lack of regard for the downstream effects that child abuse material has on its victims”, with many toddlers subjected to unspeakable acts.

Mr Wong said the aggravating factors, in this case, include the very large amount of material and the “deeply shocking” videos.

Ansari also deliberately chose to remain in the Telegram chat groups and contributed directly to the demand for such material. He made concerted efforts to avoid creating any digital trail, using an anonymous identity and deleting text messages after each trade.

However, Mr Wong acknowledged that Ansari had cooperated with the police and pleaded guilty at the earliest available opportunity.

Mr Wong compared Ansari’s case with previous cases. Although there was one instance – the case of Wong Ket Kok – that involved more files at more than 46,000, Ansari’s case involved an element not featured before in any other case.

This is the fact that Ansari traded such material and took steps to conceal his conduct.

The penalties for possessing child abuse material are a jail term of up to five years and a fine or caning.