A married couple from La Union has been sentenced to life in prison by a Filipino court for creating 'crush' videos, in which small animals are brutally killed for sexual fetishism.
Dorma and Vicente Ridon, both 54, were convicted on September 29 of human trafficking, cruelty to animals, child abuse and violating wildlife protection laws, reports Gmanet.com. They were also fined P9 million (USD $200,000) each.
The focus of investigation will now shift to identifying an Australian man alleged to have masterminded the production and sales worldwide.
Vicente 'Vic' Ridon told the regional court in the northern Philippines province of La Union that his customer and 'director' of the videos was an Australian man known to him as 'Mick Tanks' or 'Michael Clark', whom he met playing online video games in 2007, the Daily Mail reports.
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The man’s existence hasn't been fully confirmed, but Ridon claims the mystery man asked him to make a video of someone riding a carabao (water buffalo). Ridon says his housemaid volunteered for the role.
Some scripts submitted by the Australian called for women to be videoed butchering dogs, others to stretch apart snakes. One actor was a girl aged 12, Ridon testified.
Later the man sent him some video equipment and a courier to pick up the tape, he told the court. The man sent $100-$200 in payment and the enterprise continued for about a year, until he wanted a woman to appear naked, Ridon said.
This case was vigorously pursued by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a year-long investigation. While the conviction can still be appealed, PETA says the verdict is a victory for Philippine law enforcement and anti-cruelty campaigners.
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Sexual fetishists in the U.S., France, Australia, France, Korea, Malaysia, the U.K., and elsewhere, who bought the Ridons’ crush videos on the Internet now "face the risk of being charged," says PETA, ”If the purchasers can be traced, they too face possible prosecution.”
In 2011, PETA Asia received a report about several disturbing “crush” videos—violent fetish films that depict the torture, mutilation, and killing of animals for sexual gratification, explains Care2.
That led to a yearlong investigation by PETA Asia in cooperation with the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation and to the arrest of Dorma and Vicente Ridon, who have been in jail since June 2012 for crush videos that showed scantily clad girls, one of whom was 12 years old at the time, torturing, mutilating and killing small animals, some by crushing them beneath their bare feet.
Other videos depicted extreme cruelty to animals, including:
- A dog being skinned alive.
- Rabbits flailing and screaming as their ears were cut off and as they were set on fire.
- A dog being burned with a flat iron.
- A monkey and several dogs being hit in the eyes with the sharp end of a stiletto heel.
- Puppies being crushed until they vomited their own internal organs.
The Ridons were convicted under the relatively recent Philippine amendment to the Animal Welfare Law that made crush videos illegal in that country.
"This case is a victory not just for PETA Asia but also for Philippine law enforcement and people around the world who despise cruelty to animals. The Ridons' sentences are a warning to anyone involved in the vile crush video industry," said PETA Asia Vice President Jason Baker.