Interpol made a rare public plea Monday, announcing on its Web site it sought aid in the capture of a man suspected of sexually abusing a number of boys in Cambodia and Vietnam as young as six years old.
The suspect, aliased Vico, has appeared in at least 200 photographs with 12 different boys, his face disguised through digital technology, Interpol said in a statement.
German special police had unscrambled the images, several of which were released on Interpol's Web site with the hope of enlisting the public's aid in capturing the man.
"For years images of this man sexually abusing children have been circulating on the Internet," Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble said in a statement. "We have tried all other means to identify and to bring him to justice, but we are now convinced that without the public's help this sexual predator could continue to rape and sexually abuse young children whose ages appear to range from six to early teens."
The public appeal was the first of its kind for Interpol, the agency said, and followed lengthy debate.
There was concern that other pedophiles would now know the agency could identify them through scrambled photographs, Anders Persson, a Swedish officer who oversees Interpol's database of child abuse images, told the Associated Press.
But the benefits of Vico's capture would outweigh the risks, Persson said.
"We have very good reason to believe that [Vico] travels the world in order to sexually abuse and exploit vulnerable children," Noble said. "And as an 186-member country police organization, Interpol is uniquely positioned to coordinate this global effort to identify and bring him to justice."
Anyone with information that could lead to the capture of Vico should contact a local Interpol branch office or police, the agency said, adding that he should not be approached without police help.
Additional photos of Vico can be viewed at www.interpol.int.