Nfld. & Labrador

Border child-porn busts on rise: customs

The arrest of a Filipino sailor who allegedly tried to smuggle child pornography into Canada on his cellphone highlights a worsening problem, federal authorities in Newfoundland say.

The arrest of a Filipino sailor who allegedly tried to smuggle child pornography into Canada on his cellphone highlights a worsening problem, federal authorities in Newfoundland say.

Child pornography was discovered Tuesday during a routine search of the Maltese-registered oil tanker Surfer Rosa at the Come By Chance refinery in Placentia Bay, officials said.

Guilbert Ong, 28, is charged with possession of child pornography and, under the Customs Act, with smuggling prohibited goods, particularly child pornography. 

Electronic devices, including MP3 players, video-equipped cellphones and memory sticks, are increasingly being used to smuggle child pornography, the Canadian Border Services Agency says.

"The majority of the seizures that we're seeing are digital files from people travelling with laptops and other electronic storage devices," said Laurie Gillmore, a communications officer with the agency.

In 2006, there were two such porn seizures in the Atlantic region. In 2009, the number rose to 19, Gillmore said.

The seizures have been "predominantly" on boats, Gillmore said, but some have happened on roads and airports.

RCMP investigators boarded the Surfer Rosa and seized other electronics devices allegedly belonging to Ong that may also contain child pornography, Sgt. Boyd Merrill said.

Ong will make his second appearance in a Clarenville court Friday.