The Netflix case follows a sexual abuse scandal in Korea on NTH Room that was made possible by the Telegram app.
When you think the internet can’t get any worse, a headline appears that makes you doubt humanity. However, one of the most shocking cases of online blackmail and sex trafficking in recent history barely made the headlines in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Nth Room was a sexual abuse scandal in Korea that was facilitated for two years by the Telegram app beginning in 2018. Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror, a Netflix documentary, now reveals the details of the horrifying case – and how the main perpetrators were apprehended.
Define NTH Room?
The Nth Room was a sexual slavery ring where women and young girls were blackmailed into sending more degrading and violent images and videos of themselves online.
The harassers would gain access to their personal intimate photos and social media accounts and threaten the victim with revealing the content to family members, partners, colleagues, and friends. Other people were targeted and groomed with job offers, and asked to perform innocuous tasks for money – until things got out of hand. The abusers would then demand that the victims film themselves performing sexual or violent acts on themselves. The locations of these women were discovered in some cases and they were targeted and sexually assaulted, with the abusers filming the crime.
The video was streamed in different rooms on Telegram, an encrypted, cross-platform messaging app. This heinous footage was then sold on the Nth Room, which was run by a user named god god, and the Doctor’s Room, which was run by a user named the Doctor. It is estimated that 260,000 people paid up to £1,200 to gain access to this abuse pornography, and that over 100 women, including 26 minors, were forced into sexual slavery as part of this organised crime ring.
“I developed bipolar disorder and depression. I felt like I was being stalked. I couldn’t let anyone recognise me so I bundled up my whole face and body whenever I went outside, even in summer. It drives me nuts, thinking I could wake up to tens of thousands of messages the next morning with my video spread all over social media.”One victim told Korea’s CBS Radio
How was the Nth Room discovered?
Several men reported the Nth Room to the police after discovering it, but the authorities either didn’t understand the gravity of the crimes being committed or failed to investigate.
In early 2019, two publications, Seoul Shinmun and Sisa Journal, conducted undercover investigations that revealed Telegram and its rooms were being used to share child pornography. The Electronic Times was the first media outlet to report on and reveal the Nth Room in August 2019, and the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) also made the case public.
The Netflix documentary follows the journalists who worked to expose the story, as well as broadcasters such as SBS who revealed the main suspects, breaking with the country’s custom of protecting criminal anonymity.
It caused a national outcry that so many young people had been forced into modern slavery through the internet – five million people signed a petition to reveal the identity of the users of the rooms – and the authorities finally had to act, even if some in the public eye dismissed the crimes. According to Michigan Daily: “Congressman Jeong Jeom-sik (정점식) remarked that viewers ‘enjoy these videos alone for self-satisfaction, so are we going to punish them for that?; The South Korean Attorney General Kim Oh-Soo (김오수) blamed the girls, claiming that ‘It’s normal for teens to fool around on the computer,’ dismissing their criminality.”
What Crimes Occurred There?
The chat-room leaders used social media to target and coerce victims of the Nth Room. According to the investigative report by Kukmin Ilbo, the luring, which primarily targeted young girls in their early to mid-teenage years, began on Twitter. Moon (aka GodGod) would impersonate a police officer and message the user, claiming their private photos had been leaked and asking for their personal information so he could investigate. If there was no response, he would press on and inform the victim that he would contact their parents.
Moon used this process to extract personal information such as addresses, friend groups, schools, bank account numbers, and so on, in order to blackmail the young girls into sending pictures of their faces, then their bodies From there, the victims were blackmailed into providing Moon with explicit pictures and videos depicting different sex acts, which he would later sell to users on the Telegram platform.
Cho was the brains of Baksa, also known as Doctor’s Room, together with Moon. He used different coercive techniques. Cho used “high-paying part-time jobs,” like modelling or other tiny professions, to entice adolescents in order to obtain personal information from his victims. However, after disclosing the information, the victims were forced to perform “jobs” that had not previously been disclosed to them and were thereafter threatened if they objected. The victims—whom Cho described to as his “slaves”—were also coerced into cruel sex activities for him, and he even sold the footage on Telegram.
According to The South China Morning Post, 260,000 persons who purchased the content were fully anonymous and frequently paid with cryptocurrency to enter the many video rooms. The “rooms,” which were numbered 1, 2, 3, etc., had different themes or concepts, such as Female Nurse’s Room and Girls’ Middle School Room, which were accessible through Moon and Cho’s system on Telegram.
Responsible for ?
The Doctor – or Baksa – was revealed to be Cho Joo-bin in March 2020, and he was sentenced to 40 years in prison in November 2020. Nam Kyung-eup, his accomplice, was identified in July 2020. According to Reuters, when Cho was arrested, he said, “I apologise to those who were hurt by me.” Thank you for putting an end to the life of a demon I couldn’t stop.”
Mr Shin received a one-year sentence, while Mr Jeon, the Watchman, received a three-year and six-month sentence for distributing pornography. However, god god, the kingpin who claimed he would never be apprehended, was apprehended in May 2020. Moon Hyung-wook is his real name, and he was sentenced to 34 years in prison.
Did the Nth Room case cause any effect on Korean society?
Following the case, significant changes were made to Korean law. The Sexual Violence Punishment Law was revised, and those who possess, purchase, store, or view illegal sexual photographs face up to three years in prison or a monetary fine. Those who use images to coerce or blackmail others may face up to three years in prison. In addition, children and adolescents who had been subjected to sex work were finally identified as victims.
FOR MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS : CLICK HERE