- Title: South Korea president urges full probe into online sexual blackmail ring
- Date: 23rd March 2020
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (MARCH 23, 2020) (REUTERS) TRAFFIC AND PEOPLE ON STREET WOMAN WEARING FACE MASK CROSSING STREET NEWS TICKER ON ELECTRONIC BOARD READING (Korean): "IDENTITY OF TELEGRAM DOCTOR WHO SEXUALLY EXPLOITED MINORS MAY BE DISCLOSED AS EARLY AS 24TH" PEOPLE WEARING FACE MASKS STANDING AT CROSSWALK WOMAN ON SMARTPHONE
- Keywords: Nth room South Korea petition presidential office sex crimes women
- Reuters ID: LVA004C69TNBB
- Location: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA / INTERNET
- City: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA / INTERNET
- Country: South Korea
- Duration: 00:00:23
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice
- Story Text: South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday (March 23) called for a full investigation into a network of chat rooms at the heart of an alleged operation to blackmail women and underage girls into sharing sexual images of themselves.
The presidential Blue House spokesman Kang Min-seok told reporters that Moon considered the alleged crimes to be "a cruel act that destroyed human life" and that he had asked police to treat the case as a serious crime.
The National Police Agency told reporters that 124 suspects had been arrested and 18 operators of chat rooms on Telegram and other social media had been detained as a result of investigations into such sexual crimes since last September.
The perpetrators would attract victims through fake job ads and solicit compromising photographs. They would then threaten to release the photographs if the victims did not send images of increasingly degrading and violent acts, the police said.
At least 74 women, including 16 underage girls, were "virtually enslaved" for several months, police said. In some cases, the victims were blackmailed into committing violent acts on themselves.
Public outrage hit critical mass on Monday as a petition gathered over 2.3 million signatures - passing a threshold that requires the president's office to respond. The author of the petition urged the authorities to disclose the identity and the face of the man, who allegedly lured victims into taking nude images of themselves and shared them on a chat room on Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging app.
(Production: Chaeyoun Won, Daewoung Kim, Hyunyoung Yi)
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