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Lebanon arrests paedophile gang suspects: officials

Seven arrested in Australian 'terrorism' raids
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Lebanese authorities have arrested six suspected members of a paedophile gang, including three minors who are influencers on TikTok, officials told AFP on Thursday.

The minors were used to lure other minors who were allegedly “drugged, raped and blackmailed into promoting drugs”, a judicial official said.

The six arrested so far are suspected of being part of a wider group of 28 people identified in connection with the case, the official said.

The arrests came after children complained to the public prosecution about being “sexually assaulted and photographed by members of an organised gang, and forced to use drugs in hotels”, Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces said Wednesday.

The judicial official said the gang had recruited teenagers outside Lebanon “to lure children on TikTok“.

A security official familiar with the investigation told AFP that six victims “not older than 16 years of age” had testified so far.

They were lured through a “clothing shop account offering deals or promises of being featured in advertisements, or through a hair salon or fake social media accounts”, the security official said.

Suspects “raped them, filmed the rapes and then made them watch the videos, and blackmailed them, threatening to post the footage (online) if they spoke out”, he added.

“The investigation is ongoing… and work is underway to arrest all of the gang members,” the police said.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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