SEOUL: The mastermind of the infamous online sexual exploitation ring was jailed in South Korea on Thursday for 40 years. Cho Jo Bin, a 25-year-old college graduate, ran a group that blackmailed women and girls, including minors, into filming and sending sexually explicit material. The messaging app was then posted on Telegram in pay-to-view viewing chat rooms.
Cho was in charge of the group from May to February of this year, blackmailing 74 people, 16 of whom were minors. The Seoul Central District Court quoted the Yonhap News Agency as saying that “the accused has distributed a large amount of sexual abuse material which he had created by enticing and threatening many victims.” He added that it had caused “irreparable damage”.
The court added that given the seriousness of the crime, the large number of victims and the extent to which the Chou group had caused damage, it would have to be isolated from society for a long time. The 40-year sentence was less than the life sentence sought by the prosecution. Both Chu and Cho have a week to appeal.
The five men who helped Chu run the criminal ring were sentenced to seven to 15 years in prison. The case rejects a national debate in South Korea over the seriousness with which digital sex crimes are committed.