The Nth Room case, which involved the production and distribution of illegal digital content protraying sexual exploitation through a Telegram mobile group chat room, caused quite a stir in South Korean society as a new form of sex crime in the digital era.
The biggest shocker was how vicious and cruel the criminal methods were.
The criminals lured victims with a message posted on the messenger app recruiting sponsored part-time job-seekers, and then threatened them after receiving nude photos with their faces revealed. They then made sexually exploitative materials for distribution. A majority of the victims were underage, and tens of thousands of chat room members shared the materials.
The case first came to light in July 2019, after which the media began to report details of how the crimes were committed, as well as the scope of the damage.
The police mobilized cyber sexual violence investigation teams at each of the regional headquarters, leading to the arrest of Cho Ju-bin in March, the operator of the biggest chat room called Baksabang. In May, law enforcement arrested Moon Hyung-wook, whose online moniker is Godgod, for creating a series of numbered chat rooms, known as the Nth Room.
Their accomplices, who systematically produced the sexual exploitative materials and purchased them through the chat rooms, have also been arrested and will stand trial. Related investigations are ongoing.
The main culprit, Cho Ju-bin, was sentenced to 40 years in prison at the first trial in the case.
Since the crimes became publicized, a new law came into force in May, strengthening punishment for possession of illegally obtained sexual content.
Photo : YONHAP News