In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, South Korea is dealing with a massive sexual abuse scandal, called the ‘Nth Room’ case. Through the Telegram messaging application, around 260 thousand users paid to see videos, photos, and intimate content of women and children, ranging I age from 3--25. Based on speculation, the group chat included many celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and athletes, but no identities have been released yet.
According to information from Business Times, this Telegram chat room was controlled by Jo Joo Bin, a 25-year-old man. He started the group chat in 2019 with the username of “Baksa” (also known as doctor in English). There were apparently other partners, but these individuals are still deeper into investigation. He was the administrator of the group chat, where he shared illegal content to his viewers. After the release of his face to the media, his family allegedly moved out of their home to avoid scrutiny.
According to Quartz, viewers would pay up to US$1,200 to access the illegal group chat, where carnal content from underage girls was uploaded. To gain access to these chat rooms, customers had to first “prove” themselves in a separate channel by uploading their own sexual abuse videos and images.
Jo Joo Bin and the chat room operators preyed upon young runaway teenagers who were active on chat apps or Twitter and engaged in prostitution or sexting for cash. Then they would contact their accounts by bribing them with “high pay modeling,” and “escort gigs.” Next, the girls were directed to a Telegram account where the operators at a leisurely pace hacked for their details, including names, phone numbers, addresses and exposed photos which were later used to blackmail the girls and women into filming sexual content.
So far, there are 75 victims confirmed. Jo Joo Bin is still under investigation for the time being. With 75 victims confirmed, investigators predict having more victims within this case. As repugnant this situation is, Jo Joo Bin confessed that they (his operators) would install hidden cameras in top notch celebrities’ homes such as Girl Group Apink, Bomi and Actress Shin Se Kyung. Then they would continue to upload this footage into the group chat, stating that this footage was only gifted to VIP customers.
This case has sparked outrage with Korean citizens, leading to a petition for every member of the group chat to be exposed. Many celebrities in Korea have also supported this petition and advocated for Korean teens to vote in the petition. A global K-Pop wesbite, All K-Pop, stated, “EXO members Chanyeol and Baekhyun signed and shared petitions urging people to sign so that all identities related to the sex crime 'nth room' be revealed and punished.” Girl’s Day member, Hyeri also expressed her anger, “I am completely furious and terrified at the same time. I hope that they will be punished severely for the crime that they committed,” she said on her Instagram story.
With celebrities eagerly expressing their views, a citizen reacted to the case stating, “I’m tired of being alive in this world. Not a day goes by when I’m not reminded of how unsafe I am as a woman anywhere I am. I’m tired.” As only parts of the whole case has been revealed, more information regarding this case is expected to be disclosed to the public.
by Emilie Chi