The Federal police have nabbed around 1,230 people in connection with the SKY ECC messaging service that was dismantled last year, new figures from the federal police show. Many of the arrests took place in Brussels.
In early 2021, the 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 over 200 searches and arrests of 48 in March 2021.
Just one year later, 276 new probes had been opened and 888 suspects had been arrested. Drugs weighing over 90 tons with a street value of €4.5 billion were also seized.
But the new figures show that the probe started with the SKY ECC affair continues, with 1,230 people arrested to date in the context of the cracked messaging service.
A spokeswoman for the federal police, Jana Verdegem, said, “It 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.”
Whereas, the majority of arrests have not yet led to many convictions. Most of the probes are ongoing and many files are currently pending in court.