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Police to disclose identity of minor sex offender

All News 16:18 April 16, 2020

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- Police said Thursday they have decided to disclose the identity of an 18-year-old alleged co-conspirator of a high-profile digital sexual exploitation ring.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency announced the decision on Kang Hun, who was put under pretrial detention a week ago for allegedly acting as an accessory to the operation of the "Baksabang" chat room on the messaging service Telegram, which allowed paid members to view illegally taken photos and videos of violent sex acts involving underage girls.

It is the first time in South Korea that the police have decided to make public the identity of a minor criminal suspect.

Baksabang (Korean for doctor's room) founder Cho Ju-bin, a 24-year-old, has been indicted for allegedly blackmailing women into providing sexual videos to the illegal Telegram chat room.

Kang Hun, an 18-year-old accomplice in the operation of an illegal Telegram messenger chat room dubbed Baksabang, arrives at the Seoul Central District Court on April 9, 2020, to attend his arrest warrant hearing. (Yonhap)

Police accused Kang of having recruited and managed paid members of Baksabang, producing and distributing sexual abuse materials and delivering criminal proceeds from the chat room to Cho.

Kang, born in 2001, was a high school student last year when he allegedly worked for Cho.

The police agency said the decision on Kang was reached after an hour-long discussion by a seven-member panel comprised of a law professional, university professor, psychiatrist and psychologist.

The current law permits the disclosure of the identity of sex offenders but grants exceptions for minors.

"The panel held in-depth discussions on possible human rights infringements to be suffered by the suspect and his family as a result of the identity disclosure," a police official said.

"The police reached the final conclusion that the disclosure of the suspect's name, age and face corresponds to the public interest in terms of people's right to know and prevention of similar crimes," the official said.

Police said Kang will be exposed to the media Friday, when he is to be transferred to the prosecution.

ycm@yna.co.kr
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