Sexual Exploitation Crime Scandal on Telegram
Sexual Exploitation Crime Scandal on Telegram
  • reporter Choi Eun-je
  • 승인 2020.07.06 21:13
  • 댓글 0
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▲Telegram, a high-level security messaging service, became a base of a serious sexual crime
▲Telegram, a high-level security messaging service, became a base of a serious sexual crime

 

 

A serious sexual abuse crime that targeted women, including the underaged girls, is enraging  Korea. The crime happened on a messaging service application, Telegram, and the crime took place in two main group chats: “Nth Room” and “Doctor Room.”

Revealing the crime
In July 2019, the tracer group “Flame” found out that group chats sharing sexually exploitative illegal material were operating on Telegram. Through infiltration investigation, “Flame” confirmed the existence of “Nth Room” and reported it to the press. After The Hankyoreh reported it, the crime was publicized, and group “ReSET” was created to propel a Telegram sexual exploitative crime report project. Also, national petitions demanding investigation on the crime accelerated the search for  evidence.

What is “Nth Room?”
A Telegram user “GodGod” created eight group chats named after their ordinal numerals, causing it to be grouped as the “Nth Room”, and uploaded illegal material that sexually exploited women. He collected the victims’ personal information by deceiving them on Twitter and blackmailed them to send him sexual pictures and videos. After creating “Nth Room”, “GodGod” charged 10,000 KRW as an entrance fee for each room and promoted it on social media such as Twitter. Another user “Watchman” advertised the address to “Nth Room” in another Telegram group chat called “Gotham Room.” In August 2019, “God God” handed over management authority to another user “Kelly” and “Nth Room” closed in September.

What is “Doctor Room?”
In September 2019, a user nicknamed “Baksa”, which means “Doctor” in Korean promoted “Doctor Room” in “Gotham Room.” “Doctor” posted high profit part-time job recruitment on Twitter, gathering personal information from women who applied. Accomplices working in ward offices as social service agents accessed victims’ personal information using their resident registration numbers and sent it to "Doctor". Using such information, “Doctor” blackmailed victims to send him sexually exploitative illegal material of themselves and uploaded it to the “Doctor Room.” By May 24, the police affirmed that there is a total of 74 female victims, including 16 minors.
Unlike “Nth Room”, “Doctor Room” mainly focused on financial profit, so “Doctor” divided group chats by the amount of entrance fees which was only accepted via a cryptocurrency payment. There were three levels of group chats, respectively demanding 250 thousand KRW, 600 thousand KRW, and 1.5 million KRW as entrance fee.

▲On March 24, the official identity disclosure measures of “Baksa”, Cho Ju-bin, was taken
▲On March 24, the official identity disclosure measures of “Baksa”, Cho Ju-bin, was taken

 

Information disclosure of suspects
On March 16 to 17, the police arrested four suspects, including “Doctor” for operating “Doctor Room.” On March 24, following a decision by the Personal Information Disclosure Review Committee of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, an official identity disclosure measure of “Doctor”, Cho Ju-bin, was taken. Based on Article 25 of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Sexual Crimes, it was determined necessary for  the public interest. This is the first case where an official identity disclosure measures has been taken for a sexual assualt in Korea, and it shows how serious and cruel the crime is. There were following official identity disclosure measures of other managers of “Doctor Room”, Lee Won-ho (“Igiya”)  and Kang Hoon (“Butta”). Finally, manager of “Nth Room, Moon Hyung-wook of the nickname “GodGod” was arrested and charged on May 11 and detained next day. His personal information was released on May 13.

Further reacts of the police
The police is now tracking members of Telegram sexual exploitation group chats. The police state that they will investigate not only charged users but also users who have distributed or downloaded illegal material from the group chats. On March 25, Korean virtual and cryptocurrency operators agreed to cooperate with authorities to confirm paid users of “Nth Room.” By April 27, almost 40 people were identified by tracing cryptocurrency transfers. The police confirmed a total of 15,000 nicknames of “Doctor Room” members, including both paid users and free users, by March 30.
The police are also trying to protect and support victims. They suggested countermeasures such as: restricting the evidence material to investigators, aiding removal of such material, and supporting mental health treatments for the victims. 
 


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