The police eventually tracked down Mr. Cho, and when he was arrested in March, he maintained his identity from the public in his general policy of protecting the identity of criminal suspects in order to honor their rights and that of their relatives. But millions of South Koreans joined an online petition asking the government to reveal his name and image and identify all customers of the online chat room run by Mr Cho and others like him.
Eventually, the police revealed his name and allowed the news outlet to take pictures of him, saying that he had made an exception because he was specifically charged with heinous crime.
After being arrested, Mr. Cho told reporters, “Thank you for stopping my life as a devil, which I could not stop.” During her trial, she admitted most of the charges but denied blackmailing the women. He has one week to appeal Thursday’s decision.
According to local news reports, several customers turned themselves in to the police, and one killed himself. In August, a 26-year-old man was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of accessing women’s personal information in a database while he worked in a government office which he then sold to Mr. Cho. On Thursday, Mr. Chow’s three accomplices received sentences of between five and 15 years in prison. Two customers who paid to watch the explicit footage were sentenced to prison terms of eight and seven years.
In recent years, South Korean police began cracking down on sexually explicit file-sharing websites as part of international efforts to combat child pornography. He said he soon learned that many illegal businesses in pornography are migrating to online chat rooms on messaging services like Telegram. They have since arrested dozens of people. This month, the 38-year-old former office employee was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of running similar chat rooms under the alias “The Watchman”.
In 2017, South Korea revised laws to strengthen punishment for spike pornography – film female victims using small, hidden cameras, often in public bathrooms. After Mr Cho’s case made headlines, President Moon Jae-in promised a full investigation and tougher punishment against online chat room operators and customers.