PNP looking for owner of internet platform used by extremists

Published August 14, 2019, 6:17 PM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Aaron Recuenco

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking for the owner of an internet platform which is being linked to a mass shooting in the United States that left more than 20 people dead.

PNP spokesman P/Col. Bernard Banac (PNP / MANILA BULLETIN)
PNP spokesman P/Col. Bernard Banac

PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said their Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) which is now determining the whereabouts of 8chan owner/administrator Jim Watkins who is reportedly running the online platform in the Philippines.

Quoting report from the ACG, Banac said the investigation conducted revealed that Jim Watkins had already moved out of an apartment he was leasing.

Watkins has been reportedly staying in the Philippines for more than a decade and owns a piggery in Southern Tagalog area.

“But he is still probably in the Philippines,” said Banac.

Following the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, investigators discovered that the shooter has posted racist commentaries on 8chan, his rants allegedly focused on the invasion of the United States by Latin Americans.

Recently, 8chan founder Fredrick Brennan appeared at the PNP-ACG to shed light on 8chan. He said he had already sold 8chan to Watkins whom police said is the current owner.

Foreign investigators said 8Chan has been used as a platform to cater extremism, radicalism, supremacism and other forms of terrorism like mass shooting in El Paso, Texas last August 4 and mosque killings in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Banac said one of the measures being conducted is to intensify what he describes as cyber-patrolling.

“Cyber-patrolling will help to determine and confirm the whereabouts of Watkins and his online operations since he is currently based in the country,” said Banac.

“We are now also looking into some online sites that may serve as a platform to promote and provide open grounds to plot and exhibit violence and terrorism,” he added.