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Yonhap News Agency reported that a South Korean court, on Thursday, sentenced the leader of an Internet blackmail gang to 40 years in prison.
Zhou Ju-Bin, 24, was convicted of running an online network that blackmailed at least 74 women, including 16 teenagers, in what authorities described as “virtual slavery” by forcing them to send them sexual images between May 2019 and February 2020.
The agency said that the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Chu to prison terms for violating criminal laws and child protection laws by preparing and publishing pornographic materials and running a criminal organization.
Chu’s lawyer was not available for comment. But when police detained Chu in March, he said he would like to apologize to the victims.
“Yonhap” quoted the judge who issued the verdict as saying that “the accused lured many victims and threatened them in various ways to produce pornographic materials and distribute them for a long time to many … He has in particular caused irreparable harm to many victims through publishing their identities.”
The case sparked outrage nationwide as millions of Koreans signed petitions urging authorities to reveal Chos identity and investigate not only the organizers but also network participants who paid up to 1.5 million won ($ 1,360) to view the offending videos and photos.
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