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Soldier detained for alleged involvement in online sex exploitation case

All News 19:38 April 03, 2020

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- An Army soldier was detained Friday for his alleged involvement in an online sexual blackmail case that has ignited public fury over the exploitation of women and girls through online group chat rooms, police said.

Military police arrested the private first class, whose identity is being withheld, without a warrant while questioning him over suspicions he distributed content of women performing gruesome sex acts under coercion in collaboration with the case's prime suspect, Cho Ju-bin.

Cho, arrested last month, is accused of luring and threatening victims into producing sexual content and distributing such photos and videos via Telegram chat rooms.

Police said at least 103 people, including 26 teen girls, are believed to have been exploited in the case. Authorities have so far listed the nicknames of about 15,000 paid members of the so-called Baksabang chat rooms on the messenger service and are now tracking down their personal identities.

The arrested soldier is also suspected of advertising the chat rooms to gather more members.

Police raided a military base in Gyeonggi Province, outside of Seoul, earlier in the day to secure evidence. Investigators said they will look into the extent to which the soldier was involved in operating the chat rooms.

"We will thoroughly investigate the case in collaboration with the civilian police," a military official said.

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