SKY ECC messaging service bust resulted in 1.230 arrests in Belgium

The Belgian police have arrested 1,230 individuals in relation to the SKY ECC messaging service that was dismantled last year, new figures from the Belgian federal police obtained by Het Nieuwsblad show. 

In early 2021, the Belgian federal judicial police managed to crack the encryption software SKY ECC, a chat service that only ran on specially configured smartphones and was supposed to allow criminals to communicate without fear of their messages being intercepted by authorities. That breakthrough led to more than 200 searches and 48 arrests in March 2021.

Exactly one year later, 276 new investigations had been opened and 888 suspects had been arrested. More than 90 tons of drugs with a street value of €4.5 billion were also seized.

But recent figures show that investigations that started with the SKY ECC affair continue, with 1,230 people arrested to date in the context of the cracked messaging service.

“This includes 233 people who had new arrest files opened and 997 who were arrested in the context of already existing files, which were supported by information from SKY ECC,” said Jana Verdegem, spokeswoman for the Belgian federal police.

The substantial number of arrests has not yet led to many convictions, however. Most of the investigations are ongoing and many files are currently pending in court.



Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels