Hi-Rez Studios Employee, Twitch and HumbleBundle Partner Thomas Cheung Arrested in Child Sex Sting

Thomas Cheung, a Community Specialist for Smite and a Twitch and Humble Bundle partner, was arrested and charged in a child sex sting operation in Georgia. The operation was conducted by state officials in the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The arrests occurred over Superbowl weekend in Atlanta.

E-sports consultant Rod Breslau was one of the first to break the story after the arrests made rounds in the local news:

Atlanta’s 11alive NBC affiliate reported that twenty-one men were arrested in the sting.

The sting lasted for five days according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). It culminated with the arrest of the men who ages range from 20 to 55.

The operation was called “Operation Interception.” In a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, they detailed the goal of the operation was “to arrest persons who communicate with children on-line, have sexually explicit conversations, and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex.” It also “targeted those who are willing to exploit children by purchasing sex with a minor.”

The operation involved “proactive online undercover investigations utilizing  sites that are known to be used to advertise for the sex industry.” The press release also indicates officers used “applications frequented by adults to find casual sexual partners. The investigators made 20 arrests as a result of utilizing standard dating and social media applications. Those arrested had sexually explicit conversations with whom they believed to be a child and most of those arrested traveled to meet a child for sex.”

Furthermore, according to the press release those arrested were charged with O.C.G.A. 16-12-100.2, Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007 and/or O.C.G.A 16-5-46, Trafficking of Persons for Labor or Sexual Servitude.”

11 Alive indicates Cheung was arrested after communicating with an undercover agent, who was posing as a 14-year-old girl using the dating app Whisper.

Acording to Richard Lews of VPEsports, Cheung was arrested for “electronic pornography, child exploitation, and computer child exploitation online.” You can also see a screenshot of the Brookhaven Police Department database from Rod Breslau:

Hi-Rez Studios CEO Stewart Chisam issued a statement following Cheung’s arrest indicating that he has been fired from the company writing, “As of today, Mr. Cheung is no longer employed by Hi-Rez Studios.” He also commended the GBI on their efforts, “We commend the efforts of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and other law enforcement to protect our state’s children and to send a strong message that the behavior targeted in their Operation Interception will not be tolerated.”

The Brookhaven Police issued a strong warning to would-be child predators following the sting:

“Our message is simple: if you think you’re coming to Brookhaven to meet a child for sex, you’re likely to find us instead. This behavior will never be tolerated here.”

GBI Special Agent in Charge, and Commander of the Georgia ICAC Task Force Debbi Garner applauded the Brookhaven Police’s efforts in the sting:

“The Brookhaven Police Department is one of our most active member agencies. We appreciate their daily efforts to combat child exploitation. This type of cooperation and collaboration is invaluable in the effort to keep our children safe from predators who seek to harm them. This successful operation was a true partnership between all the agencies involved. We will continue to aggressively work together to protect our children.”

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