Wang Yong // Picture from Interpol
Xinhua News Agency (in English here) says a first ever joint action by Chinese and US police has led to the arrest of a 26-year-old Fujian man, Wang Yong, who it said is the founder of “Sunshine Entertainment Alliance”, the world’s largest Chinese-language porn ring.
The ring is said to be a network of 48 websites, all hosted in the US, with a whopping 10 million users worldwide. But what ultimately led to FBI involvement and an Interpol arrest warrant appears to be that 18 of those websites offered child pornography.
Xinhua’s account of the story, though, is curious for several reasons. Firstly, it has not been corroborated by any US media outlets. If this was indeed a case of cross-border police action involving the FBI and Interpol that actually leads to the successful bust of a child porn ring, certainly it would be hard for news organisations in the US to miss it?
On Sina Weibo, China’s largest microblogging platform, the news mostly elicited raised eyebrows, as nobody seems to have heard of the “Sunshine Entertainment Alliance”.
According to Xinhua, Wang started the website in the US in 2002. This makes Wang out to be one helluva amazing young tech entrepreneur as he would have been just 17 years old then. Of course, we’re not saying it’s impossible, but what Xinhua is trying to tell us appears to be really stretching it.
The report also claims Wang was arrested in the United States, but did not identify where exactly. In a related action in China, police arrested ten people suspected to be in charge of website operations on the mainland. They join another 1,000 people said to have been arrested by police over the years for working with the porn ring.
Were all the numbers in this story trumped up? Was Wang just a scapegoat? Is the real mastermind behind the porn ring, if it existed at all, still at large? Or is this all part of another coordinated anti-smut campaign on the part of a news agency ever eager to play its “nation-building” role? These are all questions that we hope will be answered in the days ahead.
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Samuel W., we’ve been alerted to a press release from the US District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan that details Wang Yong’s criminal activity. The press release says Wang has allegedly operated 18 child porn websites since “at least 2007,” making hundreds of thousands of dollars through the selling of memberships ($25 for a quarterly membership, $100 for lifetime membership).
Wang, a permanent resident of the United States who was born in China, was done in when FBI agents signed up to access one of the websites under his control:
Undercover FBI agents registered for a VIP membership with WANG and gained access to one of the websites, which was titled (in Chinese) “Empire of the Young and Innocent Fragrances.” On the website, users were directed to different forums with links that were titled with descriptive names, such as “Young Young Empire,” “Young Girl Beauty Photos Military Region,” “Young Boy Movie Zone,” and “Exclusive Quality Young Girl Photos Set.” After WANG’s arrest, the FBI identified 17 additional websites maintained and operated by WANG containing child pornography, all in Chinese.
YIKES. Leave China, work hard, and set up a child porn empire: we’re dying to know what made Wang think this was the narrative he wanted for himself.