MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has urged 8chan owner Jim Watkins to follow the lead of the website’s creator and also voluntarily meet with cops to share information that may help in their investigation into the site’s involvement in mass shootings in the United States.
PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard Banac made the call in a phone interview with Rappler on Thursday, August 15, nearly a week after 8chan creator Fredrick Brennan met with members of the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group in Camp Crame.
“As for Mister Watkins, we also encourage him to volunteer to personally appear to give anything he would want to share in our ongoing investigation,” Banac said.
Brennan, who was accompanied by his lawyer Alex Acain Jr during the August 9 meeting, met with the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group “who came to me for help,” he said in a tweet that day.
A day before his Camp Crame visit, a Reuters report quoted him as saying that that he was willing to cooperate with Philippine police and tell them “anything” he knows that may help in their investigation.
“I was happy to be of assistance and to see the inside of Camp Rafael T. Crame, Quezon City, which is something few foreigners ever get to experience,” Brennan said in a tweet last week.
Banac said that during the August 9 meeting, Brennan “explained the purpose and background why he created the website.”
Banac said the PNP investigation was currently at the “fact-finding” level. The PNP probe was prompted by reports that 8chan owner Watkins was based in the Philippines.
Brennan and Watkins both lived in the Philippines. Splinter News reported that Watkins had lived in the Philippines since 2004. Watkins owns N.T. Technology, which owns 8chan.
Message board 8chan has become a haven for far-right speech, and was recently used as a platform of the suspect in the El Paso shooting to post a “manifesto” that incited hate and violence.
Aside from the El Paso carnage that killed 22 people, the mosque killings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the synagogue shooting in Poway, California, were also announced in advance on the site, according to the New York Times.
Brennan had said that he hoped the El Paso shooting would be the “final nail in the coffin” for the forum, which he accused of harboring “domestic terrorists.” – Rappler.com