PNP to probe alleged PH source of website used by extremists
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said Tuesday he has ordered the PNP-Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) to verify reports that an online messaging board reportedly being used as a resource for violent extremism is being hosted in the country.
“I asked the ACG to verify it already and monitor ‘yung website na ‘yun (the website),” he said in a press conference at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Moments before the Saturday mass shooting at the Walmart store in El Paso, Texas that left 20 killed, a four-page message from a person who identified himself as the gunman was shown on 8chan.
International news wires services reported that the “8chan” website is being “hosted” in the Philippines, while the New York Times said it “has been run out” of the country.
The messaging board is owned by N.T. Technology owned by Jim Watkins, an American who has been reportedly living in the Philippines since 2004.
The New York Times had described 8chan as a “megaphone for gunmen” and has been a “go-to resource for violent extremists,” saying at least three mass shootings this year — including the shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, and mosque killings in Christchurch, New Zealand — have been announced on the website’s messaging board before they carried out the crime.
Should police in the Philippines find a reason to shut down 8chan, Albayalde said the PNP has to write a formal complaint.
“Depende kung anong makikita natin. Of course, kung sino ang mga connections. Kung ano ang makita natin doon, then lalo na kung local yan, we will conduct verification and intelligence build up,” he said when asked if there is an ongoing investigation on the messaging board.
(It depends on what we see. Of course, it depends on its connections, on what we see, especially if there locals involved, we will conduct verification and intelligence built up.)
He adds that mass shootings in the United States might have not been happening here because of “very strict” laws on firearms in the Philippines, with those applying for gun possession even undergoing a neuropsychiatric test. /jpv
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