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South Korea’s notorious online sex trafficking network operator was sentenced to 40 years

South Korean courts have sentenced the operators of the sprawling online sex trafficking network to up to 40 years in prison in a case that angered the state. Cho Ju-bin, 25, watched over a group of 38 accomplice who became friends and then blackmailed at least 74 women into sharing explicit videos which were later posted on pay-per-view internet chat rooms. Sixteen victims were less than 16 years old, adults in South Korea. The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday found Cho guilty of breaking a law to protect minors from sexual harassment and profiting from producing and selling abusive tapes, Yonhap News reported. Indicted for 14 criminal charges, including inducing others involved in trafficking networks to rape a teenage girl and hiding more than £ 70,000 in criminal proceeds, prosecutors initially demanded a life sentence on the basis of “irreparable damage” caused by Cho. victim. They also requested that he be required to wear an electronic monitoring device for 45 years. In a petition to the court, one of the women said Cho, who had worked at an orphanage and adopted the online name “The Doctor”, was “evil” and deserved a 2,000 year prison sentence. Sentencing, the judge said: “The defendant has widely disseminated sexual harassment content which he created by luring and threatening multiple victims.” Media reports suggest that some video clips show a group of men raping a teenage girl in a motel room, while others include an image of the word “slave” cut into a woman’s body. One video shows girls “barking like dogs”, reports the Kookmin Ilbo newspaper. Cho operates a chat room on messenger service Telegram, with at least 10,000 people accessing the site and paying as much as £ 1,000 for access. Authorities have tracked down people using the site and have identified police officers and teachers as one of the users. Cho’s arrest in March sparked outrage across South Korea after prosecutors initially refused to name a suspect before his trial opened. Within days, more than 5 million people have signed a petition on the home page of Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, demanding that the authorities revoke his right to anonymity. A committee of senior judicial officials, psychologists and psychiatrists considered the public’s right to know and took the unprecedented step of naming Cho. He was then taken in handcuffs from a police station in central Seoul to appear before the public. “I apologize to those I hurt”, said Cho. “Thank you for stopping the unstoppable demon life.” South Korea’s Ministry of Justice has been the target of criticism for its failure to address the increasing use of technology to commit sex crimes, with a ministry official acknowledging the case had been a “disaster” and apologizing for its “lukewarm response” to the sexual harassment case. on line.

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