Jo Ju-bin, under an assumed name ‘doctor’, who had been disseminating sexual exploitation videos of children and teenagers for money on Telegram, was arrested on March 17. With their arrest, the incident of “Telegram room number N” was brought up to the surface and became known to the whole country. Upon hearing the news, the public got furious and posted several petitions on the Cheong Wa Dae homepage demanding the release of the names of the perpetrators and viewers. They also demanded heavy punishment for all of them. About 2 million people signed the petition in only six days.
“Telegram room number N” is a sex exploitation case that occurred in an SNS named Telegram, in early 2019. An anonymous user named "GodGod" created rooms from number one to number eight. Then he started to blackmail the victims to film pornographic material, calling them "slaves," and sold the videos for cryptocurrency to viewers who entered those rooms. However, “GodGod”, the first manager of the “room number N” disappeared in February last year. Since then, anonymous people such as 'Watchman' and 'Doctor' have inherited the rooms and continued to commit crimes by building more N rooms. Most of the victims are minors, and the managers made them access some links, and then hacked the victim's personal information. With the information, they started to threaten them. They also demanded nude photos of the victims, saying that they were looking for a model. After the victims sent the nude pictures, they were threatened that their nude pictures will be posted on the internet and will be sent to their acquaintances if they don’t follow the things that the anonymous people says to do.
In September 2019, the "The First Exploration, Deep-In-depth, and reportage news contest” held by the News and Telecommunications Promotion Association gave the team "Trace Fire" first prize for being the first to announce the “Telegram room number N” incident with their investigative work. They revealed the status of an anonymous telegram chat room, which became a hotbed of sex crimes against children and teenagers, through an undercover interview for the first time. And It was the Hankyoreh newspaper that publicized this incident by calling it “Telegram room number N”. This news, however, did not spread widely, and even though a national petition demanding punishment for it was posted on November 29, 2019, there were only a few people having interest on this incident and consenting the petition. For these reasons, this issue was forgotten by the people.
However, by this time, the incident was clearly known to the public, and the investigation into the crime was being carried out thoroughly. In a response video of the petition, Police chief Min Gap-ryong said that he offers his sincere consolation to the victims. He also said that more than 5 million Koreans agreed to the petition for strict investigation and disclosure of personal information of operators and participants, and urged the government to take stern action along with deep concerns over digital sex crimes, including the spread of sexual slavery.
On March 23, the president personally emphasized the "survey on all members of Telegram room number N" and indicated " thorough eradication of new digital sex crimes. Also, the ministry of justice Lee said that they will strengthen the "digital sex crime response system" and quickly establish and announce the "second comprehensive measure of digital sex crimes." He also said they will support the revision of the law in a way that will deal more sternly with digital sex crimes against children and adolescents.
This incident is being handled by the public as well as the state. The public petitioned the punishment of “Room number N”, posting a stern punishment request for N-bang assailants on Instagram and listing hash tags for comforting victims. Celebrities such as Jeong Ryeo-won and Hyeri of Girls Day also in their opinion of this incident stated, "It is beyond being furious, but it is so frightening. I hope more people will be interested in this case so that all who are related to this incident can be punished.” If this incident ends with a slap on the wrist the similar incidents will occur again. No one can ever destroy human dignity and values. CUF send consolation and support to the victims who have been hurt a lot by this incident and support the position of those who hope all the perpetrators will be punished strongly.