A man accused of operating secret chatrooms where he posted sexually abusive videos of blackmailed women in return for cryptocurrency payments has been detained in South Korea.
The 24-year-old suspect Cho Ju-bin was arrested as part of an investigation into private chatrooms on the Telegram messaging app.
Officers said that users paid in cryptocurrency to view videos of a sexual nature that involved dozens of allegedly blackmailed women and girls.
The allegations have triggered intense public uproar and soul-searching over a culture that critics say is lenient about sexual violence and continuously fails the victims.
Thank you for stopping the life of a devil (I) couldn’t stopCho Ju-bin
This has prompted president Moon Jae-in to call for thorough investigation and stern punishment for operators of such chatrooms and their users.
Wearing a neck brace and handcuffed to his waist, the suspect, Cho was paraded before journalists at the Jongno Police Station in Seoul before officers drove him to the prosecutors’ office.
Police officers created a perimeter around the station’s gate to block off angry protesters, who waved signs that read “From chatroom to prison” and “Punish all users” and yelled “Give him the highest penalty!”
“Thank you for stopping the life of a devil (I) couldn’t stop,” Cho said to the waiting media.
Under the nickname “Doctor”, Cho allegedly operated one of the biggest chatrooms with around 10,000 users, and police are investigating whether he operated others.
He is suspected of using private information he secured from workers at local government offices to blackmail victims lured through fake job ads.
On Monday, Mr Moon called for a thorough investigation and denounced the alleged crimes as a “cruel act destroying a human’s life.”