Hi-Rez fires community manager arrested in child sex sting operation

Hi-Rez fires community manager arrested in child sex sting operation

The games company behind Smite, Paladins and Realm Royale Hi-Rez has announced that community manager Thomas Cheung is no longer employed at the firm after he was arrested in a child sex sting.

Cheung was one of 21 people arrested between January 30th and February 4th as part of Operation Interception, a sting operation in the Brookhaven area of Georgia that took place over the course of several months, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations' website.

It's not clear what specifically Cheung is guilty of, but given the broad theme of this sting operation, it can't be anything good.

This was a team effort by several bodies including Brookhaven's Police Department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit as well as the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office.

“On Monday, February 4th, we learned through local news that Thomas Cheung was arrested in an operation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations,” Hi-Rez CEO and president Stew Chisam said in a statement to Variety.

“At this point, we know only what has been reported in the local news and by local law enforcement, and cannot comment on specifics of Mr. Cheung’s case, other than to say that, as of today, Mr. Cheung is no longer employed by Hi-Rez Studios. 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 behavior targeted in their Operation Interception will not be tolerated in Georgia.”

Cheung joined Hi-Rez in April 2018 working on Paladins Strike, moving onto the Smite team in the same role in November of that year.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.