Anyone caught forwarding video footage of the gang rape of a 17-year-old girl in Sydney's south-west faces up to three years in prison, police have warned.
Five 17-year-old boys have been arrested on Wednesday over the alleged rape of the girl at a private home in January this year.
They are alleged to have filmed the rape on a phone video camera. The footage was allegedly circulated for weeks among students at a Sydney high school before education authorities found out and informed police.
Police said the boys will be charged with a range of offences, including aggravated sexual assault.
The sexual assault is alleged to have occurred at a private home in January this year.
The 17-year-old victim reported the assault to police nine days ago after she was allegedly threatened by a person not involved in the assault.
Following the arrests, Liverpool Local Area Commander Detective Superintendent Mick Plotecki warned any further circulation of the video was a criminal offence attracting serious penalties.
"Anyone who has a copy of this video who publishes it in any way, including forwarding it to other individuals via mobile or internet, is committing a serious offence under the Commonwealth Criminal Code," Supt Plotecki said.
"Any person convicted of this offence could face up to three years' jail."
Supt Plotecki said the "harrowing" footage has left police "shocked and horrified".
He told ABC radio that police would be going over phone records to track down all copies of the video.
He said anybody who received the video footage should contact police immediately.
A police spokeswoman said the top priority for police was to stop the circulation of the video.
"There are ongoing investigations to trace who had that video and who forwarded it on," she said.
"Prosecution will follow if we can identify persons who have forwarded that video, either by the internet or mobile."© 2007 AAP