Hi-Rez Studios community specialist for Smite and Twitch partner, Thomas Ho-Yan Cheung, was arrested and charged as part of a child sex sting operation conducted by the undercover Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
E-sports consultant Rod Breslau informed the gaming community about it after the news appeared on the local news.
Twitch partner and HiRez employee Thomas Cheung has been arrested for allegedly arranging to have sex with a child, as part of an undercover sting that lasted five days called “Operation Interception” ending on super bowl sunday according to Atlanta media https://t.co/spmV6F6apv pic.twitter.com/g10DQBF6bT
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) February 5, 2019
The operation took several months of planning, and was designed to intercept those who were engaged in “explicit conversations” or traveling to meet underage children, as well as those who were attempting to exploit real-life children or engaging in the act of “purchasing sex with a minor”.
According to the 11Alive.com news outlet, a list of the 22 suspects were made public after they were arrested during the Super Bowl weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. The men ranged from ages 20 to 55 according to the report, and one of them was Hi-Rez Studios and Twitch streaming partner, Thomas Cheung.
According to the Georgia state website where the press release was issued on behalf of the city of Brookhaven, it was revealed that the operation went underway on January 30th, 2019, and lasted for five days, ending on Super Bowl Sunday.
The press release states that the 22 men that were arrested, including Thomas Cheung, were also charged, where it states…
“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. Additional charges and arrests may be forthcoming.”
According to the press release, they managed to establish more than 63 cases to establish a threshold for arrest involving the 22 individuals.
According to Richard Lewis from VPEsports, Cheung in particular was arrested for “electronic pornography, child exploitation, and computer child exploitation online.”
Now typically the male feminists and Left-wing people within the gaming sphere who appear in these stories that are either arrested or charged for child pornography have been anti-#GamerGate individuals. However, this time around, Cheung was actually not anti-#GamerGate.
In fact, according to Cheung’s tweet history (which stopped being updated as of January 30th, 2019 after the arrest took place), it appears as if he was neutral to #GamerGate, and actually likied a video from Christina Hoff Sommers, who refuted many of the claims made by culture provocateurs such as Anita Sarkeesian. This was verified in a tweet from Cheung made on September 16th, 2014.
— Thomas Cheung (@Elvinelol) September 17, 2014
Cheung was also critical of the media and former ArenaNet employee Jessica Price for making caustic comments on Twitter, which led to her firing. In a couple of tweets made on July 6th, 2018, Cheung offered sage advice for employees working for public facing companies when it comes to using social media.
I don’t know Price personally, but what kind of person publicly tweets their joy of someone losing their fight against cancer?
Don’t be a dick.https://t.co/IoecppMvA9
— Thomas Cheung (@Elvinelol) July 6, 2018
Cheung was also a fan and supporter of the late John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, tweeting out his condolences after the YouTuber’s passing back in spring of 2018.
RIP @Totalbiscuit, thank you for everything you’ve done and all the great content you’ve given us over the years. You will be sorely missed. I’ll remember when we met at the @PlayOverwatch Open backstaged and we reminiscent on Civ 5. :3
— Thomas Cheung (@Elvinelol) May 24, 2018
Nevertheless, this does not detract from the fact that he was arrested on account of alleged child exploitation due to a sting operation.
But even despite his neutral leanings within the gaming industry, don’t be surprised if some groups attempt to use his arrest as sociopolitical currency.
(Thanks for the news tip Blaugast)