İrem UZUN -TDO- The South Korean leader of an online sexual blackmail ring that targeted minors and young women was sentenced to 40 years in jail on Thursday, marking the end of an explosive criminal case that sparked outrage across the country.
A Seoul court found Cho Ju-bin guilty of targeting at least 74 women, including 16 minors, and tricking them into “virtual enslavement” in a case that led to calls for the government to crack down on sexual offences online. Cho blackmailed his victims into sending degrading and in some cases violent sexual images of themselves between May 2019 and February this year. The 24-year-old, who allegedly used the nickname “baksa”, meaning “doctor” in Korean, is accused of distributing and streaming the videos to members of Baksabang, a group chatroom on the messaging service Telegram.
The punishment fell short of a life sentence sought by prosecutors last month who cited irreparable damage done to his victims. One of the victims said in a petition that Cho and his co-conspirators were evil and deserved to be jailed for 2,000 years. In April, the National Assembly of South Korea passed a law to make digital sex crimes easier to prosecute. Under the new law, those who possess, buy, store or watch illegally filmed sexual content can be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison or 30 million won ($24,660).