Kamis, 26 November 2020

South Korean chat room operator who blackmailed women into sharing explicit videos sentenced to 40 years - ABC News

The operator of an online chat room in South Korea has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for blackmailing women, including minors, into filming sexually explicit videos and selling them to others.

Cho Ju-bin, 24, was found guilty of running an online network that blackmailed at least 74 women, including 16 teenagers, into what authorities called "virtual enslavement".

Cho forced the victims to send increasingly degrading and sometimes violent sexual imagery of themselves between May 2019 and February 2020.

The Seoul Central District Court convicted Cho Ju-bin, 24, of violating child protection laws and organising a criminal ring, court spokesman Kim Yong-chan said.

The court ruled Cho "used various methods to lure and blackmail a large number of victims into making sexually abusive contents and distributed them to many people for an extended period," according to Mr Kim.

"He particularly disclosed the identities of many victims and inflicted irreparable damages to them."

Cho's lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Moon Jae-in
President Moon Jae-in has called for a thorough investigation and stern punishment for abusive chatroom operators.(AP: Evan Vucci)

Cho has maintained he only cheated victims into making the videos but didn't blackmail or coerce them.

Mr Kim said the court decided to isolate Cho from society for a prolonged time, due to his attitude and the seriousness of his crime.

Both Cho and prosecutors, who had requested a life sentence, have one week to appeal.

The case sparked a national outcry, with millions of Koreans signing petitions urging authorities to release Cho's identity.

They called for police to investigate not only the network organisers, but also participants who paid as much as 1.5 million won ($1,840) to see the abusive videos and images.

In recent years, South Korea has been struggling to cope with what the Government describes as digital sex crimes.

Aside from the abusive chatrooms, these crimes also include the spread of intimate photos and videos taken by smartphones or tiny spy cameras hidden in public spaces and buildings.

Police have said that since late last year, at least 124 suspects have been arrested and 18 chat room operators, including Cho, have been detained following investigations into similar sexual crimes.


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2020-11-26 07:41:00Z

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