A Seoul court on Thursday sentenced a woman who co-founded South Korea’s largest pornography website, Soranet, to four years in prison for aiding and abetting the distribution of obscene material.
The Seoul Central District Court also fined the 46-year-old woman 1.4 billion won ($1.25 million) and ordered her to attend 80 hours of sexual violence prevention education.
The woman, surnamed Song, was suspected of having operated the file-sharing site, whose server was located abroad, with her husband and another couple from September 1999 to March 2016.
Soranet, which was established in 1999 and at one point had more than 1 million members, had tens of thousands of illegal porn videos, including spycam porn that showed women secretly filmed at public locations.
“Beyond the basic concept of pornography, the website severely violated and distorted the values and dignity of children and youths as well as all human beings,” the court said. “It is difficult to measure how much harm the existence of the website caused our society visibly and invisibly.”
After the police launched a probe into the porn site in 2015 following complaints from women’s rights groups, Song fled abroad and sought to acquire a residency visa in New Zealand. She turned herself in in June last year as the government had invalidated her passport.
The woman firmly denied the accusations during her trial, claiming that her husband and another couple were in charge of running the site.
Her husband and the other couple thought to be co-owners of the website remain overseas.