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.
© BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE