An investigation has uncovered a network in Indonesia that sadistically mistreated and brutally killed newborn macaques, creating customised films for customers in the UK, US, and other countries.
BBC conducted a year-long inquiry, revealing that numerous customers paid Indonesian individuals to carry out these heinous acts. The network’s aim was to produce tailored videos featuring the torture and sometimes murder of baby long-tailed macaques.
Initially operating on YouTube, the torture network transitioned to private groups on the encrypted messaging app Telegram. BBC journalists infiltrated one of the main torture groups on Telegram, witnessing hundreds of individuals proposing ideas for extreme torture and assigning executioners in Indonesia and other Asian countries.
The BBC journalists tracked down torturers in Indonesia, as well as distributors and buyers in the US. Authorities are currently pursuing the buyers, leading to several arrests and the cooperation of international law enforcement agencies to ensure justice is served.
At least 20 individuals worldwide are now under investigation, including three women in England who were arrested last year and released under investigation, and a man in Oregon, US who was recently charged.
One key video distributor in the US, known as Mike McCartney or “The Torture King” in the videos, created a poll for the viewers to select their preferred method of torture.
“Would you like to use a hammer? Pliers? Screwdriver?” he explained.
McCartney, a former motorcycle gang member who had previously served time in prison, went on to manage several Telegram groups where devoted torture enthusiasts shared the videos.
Additionally, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently investigating two other main suspects. Stacey Storey, a grandmother from Alabama in her 40s known as “Sadistic” within the network, and a ringleader referred to as “Mr Ape” (identity undisclosed for security reasons).
DHS found over 100 torture videos on Storey’s phone, along with evidence of financial transactions related to the videos. Storey’s only comment was that her phone had been hacked.
As for “Mr Ape,” he admitted to commanding the torture and death of four monkeys, as well as commissioning extremely brutal videos.
“Mr Ape,” Stacey Storey, and Mike McCartney are among the primary targets of the ongoing Homeland Security investigation. While no charges have been filed yet, if prosecuted based on the evidence gathered by DHS, they could face up to seven years in prison.
Special Agent Paul Wolpert of DHS expressed his party’s shock and revulsion towards the alleged crimes, stating that those involved in the distribution or purchase of monkey torture videos should expect legal consequences.
Meanwhile, Indonesian authorities have apprehended two suspects involved in the torture. Asep Yadi Nurul Hikmah was charged with animal abuse and the sale of protected animals, receiving a three-year prison sentence. Ajis Rasjana, convicted of animal torture, was sentenced to the maximum available term of eight months.
Disturbingly, videos depicting monkey torture remain easily accessible on platforms such as Telegram and Facebook. BBC recently discovered dozens of groups on Facebook sharing extreme content, with some having over 1,000 members.
Facebook and YouTube, the platforms on which the torture videos were initially published, assert that such content has no place on their platforms. Telegram, on the other hand, claims to prioritise user privacy and human rights, including free speech and states that its moderators cannot actively monitor private groups.