Twitch Streamer And Game Studio Employee Arrested In Child Sex Sting

Thomas Cheung (Photo: Thomas Cheung, Twitter)

Thomas Cheung, an employee of game studio Hi-Rez (Paladins) and a partnered Twitch streamer, was arrested last weekend in Brookhaven, Georgia in connection with a Super Bowl weekend child sex sting. Police charged him with using a computer service “to seduce, solicit, lure or entice” a child, which is a felony in Georgia.

Cheung, 32, was one of 21 men arrested by Georgia police and the FBI, 11alive first reported and esports reporter Rod “Slasher” Breslau publicized among the games community.

In a press release, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation explained that the sting took several months to prepare.

The release said, “The goal of ‘Operation Interception’ was to arrest persons who communicate with children on-line, have sexually explicit conversations, and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex. Additionally, the operation targeted those who are willing to exploit children by purchasing sex with a minor.”

According to a police incident report obtained by Kotaku, Cheung was arrested in a Brookhaven parking garage. Neither the Georgia Bureau of Investigation nor the Brookhaven Police Department provided further details to Kotaku, with the former citing the concern that revealing this information would undermine future stings.

According to Georgia law, Cheung could face a fine up to $34,435 and 20 years in prison.

Cheung, known as “Elvine” among his 34,000 followers on Twitch, was a mainstay at Twitch events and conferences. A popular and partnered Twitch streamer of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, Cheung was also a prominent member of the World of Warcraft community.

Omeed Dariani, a talent manager for streamers and owner of the Online Performers Group, said he knew Cheung and had seen him at Twitch parties. “In the Twitch community, there’s an ‘in’ crowd for sure,” Dariani told Kotaku in a Twitter direct message.

“Thomas was definitely ‘in.’ The industry tends to view people in that crowd as safe and friendly. This is a good reminder that we only see the sides of performers that they want us to.”

Cheung’s full-time job was at Hi-Rez Studios, where he was a community specialist for Smite and Paladins Strike. Reached for comment, Hi-Rez CEO and President Stew Chisam said he’d learned about Cheung’s arrest through local news and, as of today, had removed him from staff.

In a statement to Kotaku, Chisam wrote, “As a parent, it is difficult to imagine more disturbing allegations than those laid out in the news reports. We commend the efforts of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and other law enforcement to protect our state’s children and to send a strong message that the behaviour targeted in their Operation Interception will not be tolerated in Georgia.” Cheung’s sponsor, SteelSeries, dropped him as of last night, they announced on Twitter.


Comments

    Now the only twitching he'll be doing is in prison.

    Last edited 06/02/19 9:15 am

    I found this odd:

    Police charged him with using a computer service “to seduce, solicit, lure or entice” a child, which is a felony in Georgia.

    Is it legal in some states? I know Washington DC (disappointingly) has legal beastiality and animal brothels, but surely no states make it okay for the above, right? There are just SO many creepers out there, man. Makes my skin crawl.

      Bleh

      Last edited 06/02/19 10:32 am

      I'm telling ya, this why if aliens are real, they probably wouldn't visit. They'd look down, see all the grotty biz we get up to, decide that we'd just try to have sex with them after initiating first contact, and warp the fuck out of our galactic 'hood.

        "We should reach out and try and make contact with this new species."

        "Yes, they seem very intelligent and our knowledge would greatly benefit them."

        "Wait, what on earth is that?"

        "I believe they call it 'zoo porn', sir".

        "Glass... the... planet..."

          Of course they'd make sure they download all the human/alien porn first. "For evidence of our despicable acts."

      I think the statement is intended to clarify what level of criminal act it is in Georgia. US laws seem to be relatively consistent state to state but the punishments and classifications of the crimes aren't. I doubt anyone thought it might be a misdemeanor but I imagine US reporters make a habit of always pointing out the classification by state to keep their interstate readers from getting confused.

        Correct. An Australian example would be the offence of theft in the ACT is called larceny in NSW.

      It may still be illegal in other states but not necessarily a felony? That's the only thing I could think of.

      That is fucked. I had never even heard of that. Then I came across this news article. Even in Australia it happens :(

      Edit: On second thought that website does not seem too credible.

      Last edited 06/02/19 2:51 pm

      I know Washington DC (disappointingly) has legal bestiality and animal brothels,

      Not since 2006

      http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2006/feb/12/anti-bestiality-bill-passes-senate/

      Its criminalized in pretty much all US states. With it in the process of being criminalized in the last remaining 2 or 3. The reason it was effectively legal in Washington was due to it being tied to Sodomy laws. So when those were rescinded, So was the laws regarding Bestiality.

        This is good news. I'm assuming the death of Kenneth Pinyan (2005) followed by the release of Zoo pushed them in that direction. I guess you never find out about the criminalisation of beastiality in the US because there aren't exactly going to be headlines and street parades about it.

          Here we go:

          Pinyan's death rapidly prompted the passing of a bill in Washington prohibiting both sex with animals and the videotaping of such an act. Under current Washington law, bestiality is now a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

          Now if only that was enough for humanity to clean it's actual act up and try and be, I dunno, less gross?

    I hope the evidence is there, that he is tried in a fair trial and brought to justice. Absolute monster deserves imprisonment and the loss of his career and all he's built

    It not just twitch and Hirez that has been hit hard, but this guy wrote popular guides for things in WoW, EVE, smite and a few other games as well. r/wow has a thread about it and theres a massive amount of posts from people who used to be in guild with him and others who met him at blizzcon and other conventions

      Man it is SUCH a shame that a part of the community was this way inclined. I'm glad that it's all coming out of the woodwork, but I just feel like I've been second guessing the sexual proclivities of other men for the past decade (more so in the past year) and am legitimately starting to lose hope that the majority of my own gender are exploitative.
      I know a lot of that's my own shit (I have had a phobia of sexual assault since early childhood, due to reasons...), but the sheer numbers of us that are scumbags does my head in and makes me sad for the now, but hopeful for the future.

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