A 25-year-old college graduate, Cho Ju-bin, has been sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for his role in masterminding a notorious online sex abuse ring in South Korea
It was gathered that the Ju-bin-led ran a group that blackmailed women and girls, including minors, into filming and sending sexual content which was being posted in pay-to-view chatroom on messaging app Telegram.
The Guild gathered that Ju-bin was in charge of the group from last May to February this year, blackmailing 74 people, 16 of whom were underage.
However, the Seoul Central District Court, in its ruling on Thursday jailed Ju-bin for 40 years over what it described as crime against all form of decency.
“The accused has widely distributed sexually abusive content that he created by luring and threatening many victims,” adding that he had caused “irreparable harm”.
“Considering the seriousness of the crimes, the large number of victims and the extent of the damage Cho’s group has inflicted, he would “have to be isolated from society for a long time,” the court added.
The 40-year verdict was short of the lifetime imprisonment sought by prosecutors. Both they and Cho have one week to appeal.
Five people who helped Cho run the criminal ring received jail terms ranging from seven to 15 years.
The case has reignited a national conversation over the seriousness with which digital sex crimes are taken in South Korea.
The illegal sharing of sexual content is a widespread problem in the hyper-connected country, and in the past critics have accused the authorities of being too lenient on such crimes.
Last year, the government began running a 24-hour watchdog team to catch illegally shared material.
In one high-profile case, K-pop star Jung Joon-young was convicted of filming and distributing sex videos without the consent of his female partners. He is serving a five-year jail term.
South Korean women have taken to the streets previously over so-called spycams — cameras hidden in public places such as schools and toilets to secretly record women.
Tens of thousands of women demonstrated in Seoul in 2018, demanding stronger government action on the issue.