South Korean leader of online sexual blackmail ring sentenced to 40 years - CNN
Nov 26, 2020 1 min, 44 secs
At least 10,000 people used the chat rooms, with some paying up to $1,200 for access, officials say

After two university journalism students discovered the Telegram groups last summer, police launched their investigation, and arrested Cho in March.

He was later indicted under 15 charges of producing and distributing illegal sexual visual material, forced sexual abuse, rape, sexual harassment, blackmailing, recording sexually abusive behaviors, coercion, violation of private information protection, and fraud.

After passing the verdict, the judge, Lee Hyun-woo, explained that Cho had no criminal record and "has made some agreements with some victims." However, Cho had "created an organization structure" victimizing women, and profited off their exploitation.

"He revealed the personal information of the victims and by doing so not only caused damage, but by distributing this repeatedly caused recurring damage to victims," said the judge.

"His behaviors caused extreme pain on the victims and they are demanding severe punishment."

"Considering the seriousness and meticulous plotting of the crimes, the number victims and damage on victims, social harm caused by the crime, and the attitude of the defendant, it is necessary to isolate the defendant from society for a long time."

Police arrested more than 120 people connected to the chat groups in March.

He would threaten to post them on the internet with their personal details if the girls did not work in his Telegram chat rooms, police said in March.

Each chat room had between three to five girls, which Guru called 'slaves,' who would obey requests for pictures and videos of explicit acts.

And in 2019, South Korean police discovered an online group chat that shared sexually explicit videos of women filmed without their knowledge and consent, and named several high-profile K-pop stars as members of the group.

The string of scandals have created a wave of protests, campaigns against sexual harassment, calls for greater action and accountability, and the rise of mainstream feminist voices and ideas.

After Cho's arrest in March, more than four million people signed two petitions demanding the heaviest of punishments, and calling for the names and faces of all involved to be released.

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