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[Newsmaker] 2 paid members of sex abuse chatroom charged with ‘joining criminal group’


Police said on Thursday it requested court warrants to detain two paying members of an online chat room that distributed photos and videos of violent sex acts on charges of joining a criminal group as well as violating the child protection law.

Police suspect that the two were heavily involved in criminal activity while knowing that the chat rooms were run not just by a single person, but by a group of people with different tasks.

“We suspect that unlike other paying members, they took part in criminal acts more aggressively. … We plan to further charge paying members who actively participated in the offenses with joining a criminal group,” a police official said.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s special investigation unit on digital sex crimes said it filed for the warrants on Wednesday for the two paying members of the pay-to-view “baksabang” (which means “doctor’s room”) chat rooms on the Telegram messenger service.

Police are investigating some 60 people involved in the online pornography ring including about 20 paying members, who it booked recently.

Police have arrested 24-year-old baksabang founder Cho Ju-bin and three alleged accomplices on suspicion of blackmailing women and underage girls into sharing sexual videos of themselves in the Telegram chat rooms.

Prosecutors found that the way Cho ran his pornography ring was no different from that of a crime syndicate with a command system, and are seeking to prove that the group had a minimum command system in order to press charges.

Police are currently expanding the investigation into its paying members, estimated to be around 15,000.

By Kim So-hyun (