South Korean Man Gets 34 Years for Running Sexual Exploitation Chat Room

SEOUL — A South Korean man was sentenced to 34 years in jail on Thursday as a part of the nation’s crackdown on an infamous network of on-line chat rooms that lured younger girls, together with minors, with guarantees of high-paying jobs earlier than forcing them into pornography.

The person, Moon Hyeong-wook, opened one of many first such websites in 2015, prosecutors stated. Mr. Moon, 25, operated a clandestine members-only chat room beneath the nickname “GodGod” on the Telegram messenger app, providing greater than 3,700 clips of illicit pornography, they stated.

Mr. Moon, an structure main who was expelled from his faculty after his arrest final yr, was one of the crucial infamous of the tons of of individuals the police have arrested in the midst of their investigation. One other chat room operator, a person named Cho Joo-bin, was sentenced to 40 years in jail final November.

“The accused inflicted irreparable harm on his victims by his anti-society crime that undermined human dignity,” the presiding decide, Cho Quickly-pyo,​ stated of Mr. Moon in his ruling on Thursday.​ The trial passed off in a district courtroom within the metropolis of Andong in central South Korea​.

Mr. Moon was indicted in June on prices​ of forcing 21 younger girls, together with minors, into ​making ​sexually express movies between 2017 and early final yr.​

He ​approached younger girls searching for high-paying jobs by social media platforms​, then lured them into making sexually express movies, promising massive payouts​, prosecutors stated​.​ He additionally hacked into the web accounts of ladies who uploaded sexually express content material, pretending to be a police officer investigating pornography.

​As soon as he received maintain of the photographs and private knowledge, he used them to blackmail the ladies, threatening to ship the clips to their mother and father except the victims provided extra footage, prosecutors stated.

Prosecutors demanded a life sentence for Mr. Moon.

Final December, the police stated​ they’d investigated 3,500 suspects, most of them males of their 20s or youngsters, as a part of their investigation of the web chat rooms that served as avenues for sexual exploitation and pornographic distribution​. They arrested 245 of them.

The police additionally recognized 1,100 victims.

The ​scandal, identified in South Korea as “the Nth Room Case,” precipitated outrage over the merciless exploitation of the younger girls​. Ladies’s rights teams picketed courthouses the place chat room operators have been on trial, accusing judges of condoning intercourse crimes by handing down what they thought of mild punishments.

On Thursday, exterior the Andong courthouse, advocates held a rally demanding the utmost punishment for Mr. Moon.

In recent times, the South Korean police started cracking down on sexually express file-sharing web sites as a part of worldwide efforts to struggle youngster pornography. As smartphones proliferated, ​they quickly realized that a lot of the unlawful commerce was migrating to on-line chat rooms on messaging providers like Telegram.

The police stated they’d bother monitoring down clients of the web chat rooms as a result of they usually used cryptocurrency funds to keep away from being caught.

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