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'Nth Room' Creator Arrested

#Hot Issues of the Week l 2020-05-17

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ⓒYONHAP News

Police on Tuesday arrested a suspect who allegedly created the illegal Telegram chat rooms at the center of a high-profile online sex exploitation case.

Earlier in the day, the Andong branch of the Daegu District Court issued an arrest warrant for the suspect, known by his online nickname “God God,” citing the risk he might flee to avoid punishment.

The 24-year-old is accused of creating the first of what are now collectively called Nth Room chatrooms, and producing and distributing sexual abuse contents that feature women and minors.

Although he had been pursued by the North Gyeongsang Provincial Police Agency since July 2019, it was only last Saturday that authorities were able to track him down and summon him for questioning.

During the probe, the suspect acknowledged that he was "God God," prompting an emergency arrest without a warrant. Police requested the warrant on Monday, charging him with violating the Act on the Protection of Children and Youth against Sex Offenses.

After attending a court review of the warrant on Tuesday morning, he admitted to the charges in a meeting with reporters and apologized to the victims.

Following Tuesday’s  court review, police on Wednesday revealed that the real identity of “God God” was 24-year-old college student Moon Hyung-wook. His mugshot was also disclosed.

The reveal came after a seven-member review committee judged that the potential public benefit from doing so outweighs the risk of breaching the suspect’s right to privacy. Police added that the vicious and repetitive nature of his alleged crimes also led to the decision.

Police said Moon testified that the number of his victims amounted to around 50, far higher than the ten victims they have identified so far.

Moon also said that he received culture gift cards worth some 900-thousand won as entrance fees to the illegal chat rooms, which he did not use but gave out to victims to avoid being traced by the police.

Moon stated that he began taking part in similar illegal activities from July 2015, though police had confirmed that he committed such crimes from September 2019 to this January.

The police said they found out that Moon had worked as a public service worker at a childcare facility in 2017, as part of his mandatory military service, adding that further investigation on that matter is necessary. 

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