At last, free users of Telegram Nth chatroom case are being identified and booked for sexual crimes. Currently police have identified and booked 280 free users who did not leave any traces of the wire transfer details. They have been booked under various crimes related to sexual offence. South Korea's National Police Agency directed the local police stations to book the individuals and bring them under investigation, reported SBS News.
These chatrooms used Telegram App to spread illegal photos and videos by sexually exploiting victims after blackmailing them. The police had difficulty in tracking down the users because they had paid their fee by using cryptocurrency. Moreover, cops did not get any help from the Telegram headquarters in finding the culprits resulting in delay in the investigations.
These 280 individuals who received sexually explicit content in the Telegram chatrooms managed by Jo Joo Bin are currently under investigation. These individuals are said to have paid the highest membership fee to receive sexually explicit photos and videos of victims including minors under three paid chatrooms. They were not only allowed to watch the content but also could download it.
Baksa's Confession of Free Users
The probe team found a breakthrough when Jo Joo Bin also known as Baksa told the investigators that he had asked the free users [who had paid highest membership fee] to search for a specific name of a victim. This had led to that particular name starting to trend real-time search rankings.
Taking a clue from this, cops obtained a court warrant and successfully got the list of people who searched victim's name at a specific time on the web. They compared the name and trends to the free-user chatroom participants and tracked down those who had communicated with Jo Joo Bin on his phone.
The police may include the crimes of obstructing business on the web and manipulating the real-time search ranking on these individuals who have been booked in the Nth Room sex scandal case.
What is Nth Room Sex Scandal Case?
This case is an example of how social media was used to trap teenagers in need of money and made them victims of sexual exploitation. Jo Joo Bin is under investigation for running the chatrooms by trapping 112 victims including 23 minors. He posted job offerings on Twitter and gathered the personal information of the girls who responded to his job offerings.
He then forced the victims to do explicit sexual content including videos and photographs by blackmailing them using their personal information. The images and videos obtained from the victims were uploaded in various chatrooms. The sexually exploitative pornography was distributed to free users via a Telegram chatroom and was only accessible via a cryptocurrency payment.
Cops Neglected Reports of Chatroom Sexual Crimes
The issue was first reported in November 2018 and had the information that a man had contacted over hundred girls with fake job postings. But the police did not take the case seriously and reports were ignored.
But since then a series of reports was published in various publications with serious revelations. In January 2019, the Seoul Shinmun reported about a secret chatroom in Telegram was distributing child pornography. In April 2019, Sisa Journal reported that Telegram was being used as a platform for crime for sharing illegal pictures and videos. It was reported in the mainstream publications for the first time on August 12, when Electronic Times revealed the serious crimes committed in the "Nth Room".
Main operator of the chatrooms Jo Joo Bin, known as Baksa or Doctor, was arrested on March 19, 2020 and his identity was revealed to public on March 23. Including all charged users and free users in "Doctor's Room", the total number of member of users of Telegram chatrooms was confirmed to be 15,000.
Extending their support, Korean virtual and cryptocurrency operators agreed to cooperate with authorities in probing the case on March 25, 2020. By April, almost 40 people were identified after tracing cryptocurrency transfers. But it took nearly six months for the cops to trace the free users. Apart from 280 identified free users, cops are expecting to book more users of the chatrooms as they have now found a method to track them.