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Twitch Partner and Hi-Rez Studios employee Thomas Cheung has been arrested during a large scale operation conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Cheung and 21 other individuals were arrested for using computer services to solicit children for sexual acts.
Operation Interception was planned over several months before being enacted last weekend. The undercover investigation was a joint effort between several large investigative agencies, most notably the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit. In a statement released the day after the January 4, 2019, the extent of Operation Interception was explained along with a list of those caught in the child sex sting.
In a police report obtained by Kotaku, it was stated that Cheung was arrested in a Brookhaven parking garage. While the full details of Cheung’s crimes remain unclear, the purpose of the operation was to explicitly target those who would seek to engage with children in sexual conversations or acts through the internet. In the state of Georgia, this is considered a felony and carries with it a 20-year prison sentence. The full statement is available on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation website here.
Between his work for Hi-Rez as a Community Specialist on Smite and his Twitch channel, Cheung had amassed 34,000 followers on the streaming site. The 32-year-old, who went by the handle “Elvine” on his Twitch, was a partnered streamer who was known to frequent Twitch related events and conferences. Widely regarded for his detailed approach to games such as World of Warcraft, his arrest has come as a shock to both the community and his employers.
In light of his arrest, Cheung has lost his sponsorship deal with SteelSeries as well as his role as Community Specialist on Smite. Hi-Rez has issued a statement to confirm that Cheung’s employment has been officially terminated.