KEY POINTS

  • Cho Ju-bin was arrested in March
  • The abusive contents were sold through paid chatroom groups in the Telegram app
  • The police arrested 124 suspects and 18 operators of the chatroom
  • The accused included children between 12 and 17

The mastermind behind South Korea’s biggest online sex abuse ring named ‘Nth room’ has been sentenced to 40 years in jail.

Cho Ju-bin, 24, was found guilty of running online chatrooms that entrapped women into sexual enslavement through blackmail. At least 74 women, including 16 teenagers, were tricked into “virtual enslavement” between May 2019 and February 2020.

He allegedly used the name “Baksa” meaning “doctor” in Korean and collected abusive content from the victims through threat and blackmail. He was accused of distributing and streaming the contents in a group chatroom called Baksabang on the Telegram app, reported The Guardian.

The users paid money to view the contents of the group. It was found that at least 10,000 people used the chatrooms, with some paying up to $1,200 for access.

  The Seoul district court sentenced him Thursday for violating criminal and child protection laws by producing and selling pornography for profit and running a criminal organization, according to the Yonhap news agency.

The court observed that he had paused “irrecoverable damage to many victims by publishing their identities.” The prosecutors had demanded a life sentence but the current verdict falls short of it.

man He was found guilty of selling abusive content in online chatrooms. Photo: pixabay

Ju-bin was arrested in March. The case sparked nationwide outrage in South Korea. Millions of people signed a petition urging to reveal the identity of Ju-bin and demanding an investigation into the subscribers who had paid to view the abusive content. The investigation has found that the accused included children between 12 and 17 who were involved in distributing videos of assault or even selling them online.

One of the victims said in a petition that Ju-bin and his co-conspirators were evil and deserved to be jailed for 2,000 years. Police have arrested at least 124 suspects and 18 operators of chat rooms on Telegram and other social media.

Under South Korea's new law passed in April to curb digital sex crimes, it is illegal to possess, buy, store, or watch unlawfully filmed sexual content. According to the law, offenders can be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison or $24,660, reported Al Jazeera.