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Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

Father of Son Jong Woo, convict in child pornography case, has made a plea not to hand over his son to the US as he has completed his imprisonment term and sought forgiveness from citizens as the young man has so much life to live. This has enraged netizens who have demanded that Jong Woo not be freed.

His father pleaded citizens to let him be in Korea, even if it meant he must be tried again and sentenced to serve a longer term.

Before NthRoom scam, the W2V scam or the Welcome to Video scam shook South Korea. W2V was one of the world's largest child pornography website run by 24-year-old Son Jong Woo. When the scam was unearthed he was imprisoned for 18 months and his sentence ended and he was to be released on April 27, 2020.

But as he is also wanted in the US, the American authorities have sought to extradite Son Jong Woo. So, on April 20, 2020, seven days before his release, the Korean court issued arrest warrant against him as the Korean Ministry of Justice's decision on his extradition was still pending.

So, Jong Woo was not released on April 27. Following this, he submitted a review on his prolonged detention on May 1. But the court refused to hear his plea on the grounds that he posed a high risk of fleeing, if released.

What angered netizens was Son Jong Woo's father plea to the court submitted on May 4, asking the authorities not to extradite his son to the US. He pleaded to keep Jong Woo in Korea and sought forgiveness of citizens.

What is Welcome to Video scam?

Welcome to Video (W2V), one of the largest child pornography website was established by Son Jong Woo in 2015. The porn site was traced to Son Jong Woo following an international cooperative investigative operation by the UK, US, Germany and Korea in 2017.

W2V is said to have 3,344 paid users apart from millions of visitors. The authorities tracked down 310 paid users and were investigated. The issue became public after it was reported in February 2018. By then, the site is said to have had uploaded 25,000 videos and 20,000 videos saved on the server. The videos were of assault, rape, and mutilation of infants and children aged 6 months to 5 years. Probe revealed that some children featured in the video were reported missing.

Through these videos, Son Jong Woo is said to have accumulated 415 bitcoins in profit (US$3.6 million).

Extradition plea

Based on the fact that there were American victims of W2V site, American authorities sought extradition of Son Jong Woo. The US and Korean authorities have been negotiating terms of extradition since October 2019. The final decision is still pending.

Koreans soon started a petition signed by more than 300,000 people asking Korean authorities to hand over Son Jong Woo to the US for heavier punishment. While pleading to let his son stay in Korea, even if he has to serve longer imprisonment term, his father spoke about his upbringing.

Son Jong Woo upbringing

He said that he was facing financial difficulties and had to divorce his wife. After this, Son Jong Woo grew up with his grandparents in the countryside and did not have any friends. He couldn't continue education and graduate from middle school as there was a lack of money. As he could not help him out, he bought a computer for him and since then, the computer had been his only friend.

"He committed the crime while trying to save money to get us a bigger place to live all together. I know what will happen to my son if he gets sent to the United States. How will a father live after sending his son away to such a faraway place?" his father said.

Further, Son Jong Woo's father in his petition apologized and said, "It isn't like he committed murder or assaulted rape. I hope parents can understand where I'm coming from. How can I send my son to a land from where he won't ever return? Please let him pay for his sins in his own country."

Son Jong Woo's father's plea against the severity of the crime committed by Jong Woo has angered the netizens who have sought strict action against the convict who had wronged children in the most severe way.