South Korean Exchanges Aid in Child Porn Investigation

South Korean Exchanges Aid in Child Porn Investigation

For years, dozens of South Korean middle school girls, and sometimes boys, were filmed performing violent sexual acts and self-harm. The videos were then shared through Telegram chat rooms in exchange for payments made in cryptocurrency. The Korean police found dozens of victims since the videos often displayed girls’ names and addresses, thank to the South Korean exchanges. 

After more than 5 million Koreans signed petitions to name the man who led the group that blackmailed girls and created the Telegram groups, the police decided to reveal his identity. The name of the 24-year-old criminal is Cho Ju-bin.

The police also revealed that over 10,000 people used the Telegram chat rooms; some even were paying over $1,200 in crypto for gaining access. So far, the police know about 74 people, including 16 minor girls.

Elsewhere, reporters of local media agency Kookmin Ilbo discovered about 25,000 users across 30 such Telegram chat rooms.

Other estimates from local media claim that there were up to 300,000 paying customers using similar chat rooms.

As he left a police station in Seoul, Cho said:

I apologize to those who I hurt. […] Thank you for putting a brake on the life of a devil that could not be stopped.

Nevertheless, he didn’t comment when reporters asked if he admitted to the allegations.

The police charged him with abuse, threats, coercion, and violating the sexual abuse act, the child protection act, and the privacy act.

There are unconfirmed reports yet that a local South Korean exchanges traced the crypto transactions. They found out that some of the fee-paying members were famous artists, professors, sports celebrities, and startup founders and company CEOs.

WHO IS CHO JU-BIN AND HOW DID THE CHATROOMS OPERATE?

A child porn suspect is a 24-year-old man nicknamed “Baksa,” which translates as “doctor” or “guru.” He managed the Telegram chat rooms where videos of child abuse were shared in exchange for payments. Cho charged the viewers in crypto to make it difficult for the police to trace his criminal activity. However, given that the South Korean crypto exchange could help authorities find members and understand the magnitude of the incident.

So far, the police have tracked down 124 individuals related to the case. It arrested Cho and 17 others.

Korean newspaper said that each of the eight “nth rooms” shared videos from three to four girls the criminals blackmailed. The girls were lured by chatroom operators who promised modeling or escort jobs.

PEDOPHILE JEFFREY EPSTEIN PREVIOUSLY PRAISED CRYPTO

As a matter of fact, it is not the first instance when criminals prefer Bitcoin and its brethren.

For example, take a billionaire and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was in the middle of a sex slave scandal. He praised Bitcoin and the technology underpinning it.

Interestingly, last year, MIT’s Media Lab director Joichi Ito had to resign after the New Yorker revealed that he attempted to hide financial contributions from Epstein. But besides managing MIT’s lab, Ito also set up the Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) at MIT, helping Bitcoin go through some of its most difficult days in 2015.

At the time, when nonprofit Bitcoin Foundation experienced “funding constraints,” the DCI offered full-time positions to Bitcoin core developers, including Gavin Andresen, Cory Fields, and Wladimir van der Laan.

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