This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2020)
The "Nth Room" case (Korean: n번방 사건; Hanja: n番房 事件) is a criminal case involving blackmail, cybersex trafficking, and the spread of sexually exploitative videos via the Telegram app between 2018 and 2020 in South Korea. A man nicknamed god god (Korean: 갓갓) sold sexual exploitation videos on Telegram channels and groups.
A copycat crime, known as the "Doctor's Room", (Korean: 박사방; Hanja: 博士房; RR: baksabang) was operated by a man using the screen name Doctor (Korean: 박사; Hanja: 博士; RR: Baksa, later revealed to be Cho Ju-bin), who is accused of blackmailing dozens of women, forcing them to take sexually exploitative videos, with some involving rape.
The number of confirmed victims is at least 103, including 26 minors. It was revealed that the victims' pictures were shared and sold to over 260,000 IDs (narrowed down to about 60,000 users, taking into consideration overlapping profiles) and were anonymously paid for in cryptocurrency.
A user nicknamed "God God," who was later identified as Moon Hyung-Wook created eight groups simply named after their ordinal numeral (hence the name "Nth Room"), and uploaded sexually exploitative pornography. Another user nicknamed "Watchman" advertised the link to these groups in another Telegram group named "Gotham room".
A user nicknamed "Doctor" posted part-time job offerings on Twitter, seeking to gather personal information from girls who applied. In the "Doctor's Room", the sexually exploitative pornography was distributed via a Telegram chatroom and was only accessible via a cryptocurrency payment. "Doctor", who appeared in July 2019, threatened women and took pictures and videos of them by figuring out their personal information, and then uploading the pictures and videos. When reports first emerged, the person even figured out the personal information of the reporter and released it. In addition, a high school student in Incheon was running various Telegram chatting rooms that distributed child pornography and links for buying drugs and shared tricks for dealing with police investigations.
Reports and investigationEdit
In the beginning, when the case became known on male-dominated online communities, a man reported the "Nth Room" case by contacting 112. Police, however, did not consider the report credible and ignored it.
In January 2019, the Seoul Shinmun through undercover journalism found a secret Telegram room distributing child pornography. In the same manner, Sisa Journal in April that year reported that Telegram was being used as a platform for sharing illegal pictures and videos. On August 12, the Electronic Times was the first media outlet to report the Nth Room. The case went on to have a huge social impact and ignite public fury.
The lead operator Baksa was arrested, but his accomplice and Telegram users who shared the videos for money remain unknown. While police got the list of people who bought the videos and were investigating, over five million people signed a national petition demanding public disclosure of the identities of users who shared in the chatroom. Including all charged and free users in Doctor's Room, the number of members was confirmed to be 15,000. 
On March 25, 2020, Korean virtual and cryptocurrency operators agreed to cooperate with authorities on this case after concluding that the leaders and subscribers of the Nth Room paid with virtual currency. By April 27, almost 40 people were identified through tracing cryptocurrency transfers.
|Nth room case diagram|
|Nth Room||Doctor's Room|
|Moon ("God God")||→||Shin ("Kelly")||←||Cho ("Doctor")|
|transferred to||modeled after|
|↑ modeled after||↑ promoted|
|Second Nth Room||Gotham Room|
|Bae ("Loli Daejang Taebeom")||Jeon ("Watchman")|
On March 23, 2020, the Seoul Broadcasting System disclosed the identity of the "Doctor's Room" suspect. Cho Joo-bin (Korean: 조주빈) On March 24, following a decision of the Personal Information Disclosure Review Committee of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, an official identity disclosure measure was taken, based on Article 25 of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Sexual Crimes. This was the first case where an official identity disclosure measure had been taken for a sexual criminal. An accomplice of Cho, Nam Kyung-eup (Korean: 남경읍) was revealed on July 15, 2020.
Meanwhile, the user with the nickname "Watchman" who was known as the mastermind and the individual who made the "Nth Room" popular was arrested in September 2019. He was revealed as Mr. Jeon, a 38-year-old company worker, who had received a suspended sentence for pornography distribution in the past. Mr. Jeon was indicted on suspicion of operating an Internet site featuring illegal recordings, and a sentence of imprisonment of 3 years and 6 months by the prosecution. However, since it was revealed during the trial that there was a connection with the "Nth Room", an application is underway for the resumption of the hearings.
Mr. Shin, the prior operator of "Nth Room", who had inherited it from "God God" was a male in his 30s, who had previously received a suspended sentence for violating the Act on the Protection of Children and Youth Against Sex Offenses, and was taken into police custody in September 2019. He received a sentence of one-year imprisonment in the first hearing, and since the prosecution did not appeal, it is foreseen that this sentence will become final in the second hearing.
God God claims he will not be caught according to information released to JTBC News.[when?] He claims he never uses his own phone and all currency is transferred through gift vouchers so it can't be traced. He has also revealed he is confident that if he abandons his phone, there will be no evidence against him even if he turns himself in. Moon Hyung-wook (Korean: 문형욱) nicknamed God God was arrested and charged in May, and he was detained on 12 May 2020. His personal information was released on 13 May. In April 2021, Moon Hyung-wook was sentenced to 34 years in prison. An accomplice to Moon, Ahn Seung-jin (Korean: 안승진) was revealed June 22, 2020.
On November 26, 2020, Cho was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Lee In-young, the parliamentary leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, promised the party will bring the case to parliament. The main opposition United Future Party condemned the case, in which they said that they will forward the case to parliament to prohibit any kind of child pornography. The party also urged the Democratic Party to not just focus on the upcoming general election but to also cooperate with them to forward their bill. Its chairman, Hwang Kyo-ahn, however, created controversy by saying not all suspects involved in the case deserved the same punishment.
Prevention law of Nth roomEdit
Revision of the Sexual Violence Punishment lawEdit
Before the revision, only the distribution, sale, lease, and provision of illegal photographs were subject to punishment; the current law added regulations that also sentenced those who possess, purchase, store, and watch illegal sexual photographs up to three years in prison or fined up to 30 million won. Even if the video was filmed by one’s self, the law clarified the rule that if someone spreads it against their own will, the disseminator would be punished and the sentence will be raised.
A new rule implemented a prison sentence of more than one year and three years respectively, on those who threaten or coerce using photographs that can cause sexual shame. This act is most commonly known as blackmail.
In the case of special robbery and rape, a person could be sentenced to up to three years in prison for preliminary and conspiracy charges; the legal sentence for illegal filming and production was further strengthened.
Revision of Criminal LawEdit
It raised the age of consent standard for rape of minors from 13 to 16.
The point out that perpetrator won't be sentenced because up to 70 victims' assaults and threats have not been proven to have led to actual crimes, It could also be sentenced to up to three years in prison for preliminary and conspiracy charges those who planned rape and similar rape.
The Hiding of Crime ProfitsEdit
In the case of digital sexual violence crimes, there was an opinion that "it is not easy to prove the relevance between individual crimes and criminal profits, so it is difficult to withdraw criminal profits," so easing the burden of proof.
Revision of the Youth Protection lawEdit
It identify the children and adolescents who are subject to prostitution as victims. and the person who have committed simple sex crimes against children and adolescents as well as those who have committed simple sex crimes are subject to personal disclosure.
Korea's National Petition and the Government's Systematic ResponseEdit
On March 26, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security's resident registration number change committee said it would submit an application for changing the resident registration number, which is recognized as a victim of the "N" incident, as an "emergency agenda" and process it as quickly as possible within three weeks. The original legal deadline is six months and usually takes three months.
A petition for international cooperationEdit
On January 2, 2020, a new Cheong Wa Dae national petition was posted and 219,705 people agreed to the petition for an international cooperative investigation. As of March 1, National Police Agency Commissioner General Min Gap-ryong released a video clip and a full text of the answers to the petition.
The National Assembly's National AssemblyEdit
On January 15, 2020, 100,000 people agreed to the National Assembly's petition for international cooperation with police, the establishment of a digital sex crime department, raising sentencing standards for digital sex crimes, and the National Assembly's Legislation and Judiciary Committee on February 10th. The result of the review, which was not to be referred to the plenary session (not to be referred to the plenary session), was because the purpose of the petition was reflected in the "Partial Amendment of the Act on the Punishment of Sexual Violence Crimes", which was passed by the First Subcommittee on the Legislation and Judiciary Committee's on March 3, 2020. However, it was criticized for being hasty. According to the Project ReSET, the revised bill only covers the creation and distribution of the so-called Deepfake, and "does not reflect the strengthening of the sentencing standards, improvement of the investigation system, or international announcement investigation." It has been revealed that despite the provision of related data books, the remarks made in the process have been controversial, with more than a month of information not being properly identified.
A petition for the disclosure of all key suspects and participantsEdit
A petition calling for the personal and photo line of the key suspect, "Dr. Doctor," was filed on March 18 in the Cheong Wa Dae National Petition, and a petition was filed on March 20 calling for the disclosure of all participants in the Telegram Secret Room. By March 24, more than 2.57 million and 1.85 million people participated, respectively. The doctor's request for personal disclosure and photo line received the most consent in the history of the petition.
On the afternoon of March 24, National Police Agency Commissioner General Min Gap-ryong and Gender Equality and Family Minister Lee Jung-ok responded to the petition, and promised to set up a special digital sex crime investigation headquarters and prepare digital sex crime sentencing standards.
South Korean gender profiling led to the blackmailing of female individuals. For example, in regards to the "Nth room case", females wanting to become models are given job offers through social media leading to them naively taking pornographic imagery of themselves. Users like Cho Joo-bin then blackmail these individuals threatening to release the content to their families.
On 26 November 2020, Cho Joo-bin was found guilty of his crimes and sentenced to a total of 40 years' imprisonment. Cho reportedly said that he wanted to apologize to his victims.
- "Telegram sex offender's case sent to prosecution". The Korea Herald. Seoul. Yonhap News Agency. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
- "Bithumb delists Monero amid Nth room sex scandal". Cryptopolitan. May 16, 2020.
- "성착취물 제작‧유포 텔레그램 ｢박사방｣ 운영자 검거" (Press release) (in Korean). Seoul: Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. 20 March 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
- SHIN Sua (신수아) (Mar 20, 2020). "Distributing pornography by telegram ... 'Dr. Bang' was caught". MBC News (in Korean).
- "Face of notorious child porn suspect revealed". The Korea Times. Yonhap News Agency. March 24, 2020.
- Begum, Haneesa (March 30, 2020). "K-pop stars speak out on Nth Room, Telegram porn scandal, urging strong punishment for those involved". South China Morning Post. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
- Laura Bicker (25 March 2020). "Cho Ju-bin: South Korea chatroom sex abuse suspect named after outcry". BBC News.
- Min Joo Kim (March 25, 2020). "South Korea identifies suspected leader of sexual blackmail ring after uproar". The Washington Post. Seoul.
- Justin McCurry (Mar 25, 2020). "Outrage in South Korea over Telegram sexual abuse ring blackmailing women and girls". Guardian. Tokyo.
- Choe Sang-Hun (March 25, 2020). "Suspect Held in South Korean Crackdown on Sexually Explicit Videos". The New York Times. SEOUL, South Korea.
- "Ruling party, gov't push for abolishing statute of limitations for child sex crime". Yonhap News Agency. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
- media, Follow meYuexin LiA digital; ofSheffield, society student studying at the University (2020-03-27). "South Korean "The Nth Room": Digital Sex Offenses Sprawls Along Social Media". The Organization for World Peace. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
- Yoon, So-yeon; Hill, Alannah. "[DEBRIEFING] 'Nth room': A digital prison of sexual slavery". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
- "'Nth room' creator sentenced to 34 years in prison". koreatimes. 8 April 2021.
- 신수아 (2020-03-20). "텔레그램으로 음란물 유포…'박사방' 붙잡혔다". MBC NEWS (in Korean). Retrieved 2020-04-28.
- "N번방 유력 운영자 검거된 와중에도…"제2·제3 N번방 여전"". KBS 뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2020-04-12.
- 이재현 (2020-03-24). "'갓갓' 모방 '제2n번방' 운영자 또 있다…닉네임 '로리대장태범'". 연합뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 2020-04-12.
- "Sex crime chat room ignites public fury". Yonhap News Agency. Seoul. Mar 23, 2020.
- "텔레그램 n번방 용의자 신상공개 및 포토라인 세워주세요". Petitions to Blue House (in Korean). The official website of the Republic of Korea · Office of the President (Cheong Wa Dae). Mar 18, 2020.
- "Doctor's Room has 15,000 members, Police Department "Most identificated."". The Dong-a Ilbo (in Korean). The Dong-a Ilbo. Mar 30, 2020.
- "[단독] 극단적 선택 '박사방' 회원 가상화폐 지불내역 확인". 연합뉴스TV (in Korean). 2020-04-27. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
- "성착취 'n번방' 개설자 '갓갓' 검거…20대 남성(종합)".
- KIM Sangmin (김상민) (23 March 2020). "[단독] '박사방' 운영자 신상 공개…25살 조주빈". SBS News (in Korean). Retrieved 24 March 2020.
- "Suspect in South Korea sex blackmail case identified amid outcry". Reuters. 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
- Jung Min-ho (15 July 2020). "Police reveal identity of another key suspect in 'Nth room' case". The Korea Times. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
- "n번방 설계자 '갓갓' 구속영장 발부..."도주 우려"".
- "'n번방' 개설자 '갓갓' 신상공개…24살 문형욱".
- "Police unveil identity of key suspect in Telegram sex crime case".
- "텔레그램 'n번방' 운영한 '갓갓' 문형욱 징역 34년 선고". www.ytn.co.kr (in Korean). 2021-04-08. Retrieved 2021-04-17.
- Kwon Tae-hoon (권태훈) (22 June 2020). "'n번방' 피해자 협박한 20대 신상 공개…25세 안승진". SBS News (in Korean). Retrieved 27 August 2020.
- "Leader of South Korean sexual blackmail ring sentenced to 40 years".
- HA Ellena (하정연) (11 February 2020). "민주당 "텔레그램 N번방 사건 입법, 국민께 약속"". Seoul Economic Daily (in Korean). Retrieved 24 March 2020.
- HONG Suhyeong (홍수형) (20 March 2020). "[포토] "성착취 N번방 처벌 미래통합당이 앞장"". The Women's News (in Korean). Retrieved 24 March 2020.
- "Top court to make sentencing guidelines for digital sex offenses". koreatimes. 2020-04-21. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
- "'n번방 방지법' 통과…성착취물 소지·시청해도 3년 이하 징역". www.hani.co.kr (in Korean). 2020-04-29. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- "[MAGNIFYING GLASS] Rushed 'Nth room law' unlikely to actually stop criminals". koreajoongangdaily.joins.com. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
- "The Nth Room case and modern slavery in the digital space". www.lowyinstitute.org. Retrieved 2020-05-08.
- "South Korea sentences leader of sexual blackmail ring to 40 years in prison: Report". Channel NewsAsia. 26 November 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.