Two accomplices detained in Telegram sex exploitation case

April 2, 2020

Two of three suspected co-conspirators of a high-profile digital sexual exploitation ring have been detained following the recent arrest of prime suspect Cho Ju-bin, police said Thursday.

Cho, a 25-year-old, has been put under arrest for allegedly blackmailing girls into sharing sexual videos, which were then posted in his pay-to-view chat room, dubbed “Baksabang,” on the Telegram messenger service.

At least 103 people, including 26 teen girls, are believed to have been exploited in the case, in which their photos and videos of a sexual nature were distributed to the chat room’s paid members.

A special investigation team of the National Police Agency (NPA) said that it has detained two of Cho’s three accomplices and is tracking down another suspect.

The three accomplices are suspected of having jointly managed Baksabang, meaning doctor’s room in Korean, along with Cho, the NPA team said, adding it will consider requesting an arrest warrant for the two detainees.

This file photo shows Cho Ju-bin, who is accused of operating digital sexual exploitation ring Baksabang. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows Cho Ju-bin, who is accused of operating digital sexual exploitation ring Baksabang. (Yonhap)

The team also said it is trying to contact the operator of Telegram, an encrypted instant messaging service, as part of its investigations into other chat rooms involved in online sexual abuses.

“The location of Telegram’s headquarters has not been confirmed yet. We’re in consultation with Dubai police, as a Telegram notice says its headquarters is in Dubai,” an NPA official said.

Following President Moon Jae-in’s order for a thorough probe into digital sex crimes, police have been expanding their investigations into Baksabang and other illicit Telegram chat rooms. A total of 140 suspects have been detained in 98 sexual exploitation cases, and 23 of them have been put under arrest.

In particular, police have so far obtained the nicknames of about 15,000 paid members of Baksabang from digital data secured from Cho and are now tracking down their personal identity information.

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