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 mentioned. Mr. Moon, 25, operated a clandestine members-only chat room underneath the nickname “GodGod” on the Telegram messenger app, providing greater than 3,700 clips of illicit pornography, they mentioned.
Mr. Moon, an structure main who was expelled from his faculty after his arrest final yr, was some of the infamous of the lots of of individuals the police have arrested in the middle 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 choose, Cho Quickly-pyo, mentioned of Mr. Moon in his ruling on Thursday. The trial happened in a district court docket 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 on the lookout for high-paying jobs by social media platforms, then lured them into making sexually express movies, promising huge payouts, prosecutors mentioned. He additionally hacked into the net accounts of ladies who uploaded sexually express content material, pretending to be a police officer investigating pornography.
As soon as he obtained maintain of the photographs and private knowledge, he used them to blackmail the ladies, threatening to ship the clips to their dad and mom except the victims equipped extra footage, prosecutors mentioned.
Prosecutors demanded a life sentence for Mr. Moon.
Final December, the police mentioned they’d investigated 3,500 suspects, most of them males of their 20s or youngsters, as a part of their investigation of the net 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,” brought on 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-about gentle 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 battle little one pornography. As smartphones proliferated, they quickly realized that a lot of the unlawful commerce was migrating to on-line chat rooms on messaging companies like Telegram.
The police mentioned they’d hassle monitoring down prospects of the net chat rooms as a result of they typically used cryptocurrency funds to keep away from being caught.