On January 2, 2020, A Korean citizen posted his opinion against sexual exploitation on the Blue House website. The title of his post was "We Petition for an International Collaborative Investigation to Address Sexual Exploitation Regarding Nth Room”. According to the post, the manager of Nth room obtained personal information of their victims through their Twitter accounts. Then the manager forced them to take photos and videos of sadistic sex, perverted behavior, and torture. The manager then shared these photos and videos in a chat room on Telegram. Telegram is a messenger app that can send and receive messages. It emphasizes security to protect messages exchanged between individuals. Many of the victims were teenagers, which has caused societal uproar. A petition with 210,000 signatures emerged regarding the social issue of consent. This led to a rapid investigation of the case by authorities. Thanks to the cooperation of Telegram headquarters' management with a police investigation, Baksa room’s operator, Cho Joo-bin, was arrested on March 16.
What's the difference between Nth room and Baksa room? The press generally refers to the Nth room. In fact, the crimes committed in Nth room and Baksa room are similar and center around Telegram. Through Telegram, videos of sexual exploitation were sold in eight chat rooms from ‘1st room’ to ‘8th room’. The chat room run by username ‘God God’ is Nth room, and the chat room managed by username ‘Baksa’ is Baksa room. The two are identical in the way in which they threaten women and share videos of sexual exploitation. However, they differ in how they approached the victims. Nth room got the victim's phone number, e-mail address, and residence through Twitter. Then ‘God God’ impersonated the police to blackmail the victims and force them to take photos and videos. On the other hand, 'Baksa' hired social service personnel as part-timers to get personal information of the victims using the national administrative computer network. He also operated paid chat rooms where anonymous people would pay virtual currency to him.
▲ Cho Joo-bin, the operator of "Baksa room" sent to the prosecution.
(Source: Yonhap News Agency)
After Baksa room's operator, Cho Joo-bin, was arrested, a petition was created which was titled 'Please Let Citizens See His Profile and Photo’. 2.7 million people signed this petition. On March 25, Cho Joo-bin’s photo was posted and his personal information spread through various SNS networks. He is 25 years old and graduated from Inha University in 2018. He seemed to have trouble socializing, but it has been revealed that he won first prize in a book review competition because he likes to write, and that his average academic score was 4.0. When he was running Baksa room, he was also volunteering at a child care center. People were shocked about the double life he led.
While the identity of the ‘Baksa’ has been revealed, the user ‘God God’, who hosted Nth room has still not been caught. Also, some people said that, “The host of Nth room should not be the only one punished. The participants who joined the room aided and abetted the illegal violence. We have to reveal the identities of everyone who participated in Nth room." Students at CWNU are also voicing their opinions about Nth room. In addition to signing the petition, they continue to trend related issues on SNS like Instagram by tagging ‘#visitor of Nth have to be punished’, ‘#Let’s make Nth room an issue’, and ‘#All of the managers and the viewers must be punished’. If the public continues to pay attention to the case so that the perpetrators for their crimes, it will be a great step towards preventing similar crimes in the future.
By Kim Daeun, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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