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National Assembly approves bills to toughen punishment for online sex crimes

All News 22:20 April 29, 2020

SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) -- The National Assembly on Wednesday passed a set of bills designed to strengthen punishment for digital sex crimes, amid a public outcry over a recent high-profile online sex abuse case involving minors.

The package includes a revision to the sex crime act, under which people who possess, buy, store or watch illegally filmed obscene materials can face up to three years in prison or a fine of up to 30 million won (US$24,610).

Under current laws, possession of illegally filmed sexual footage is not punishable.

The legislature also passed revisions to the criminal code calling for raising the age of sexual consent to 16 from the current 13.

Regardless of consent, an adult who has sex with a minor under the age will be charged with rape.

Public criticism of relatively light punishment for perpetrators of child sex abuse has mounted recently, especially following the revelation of the so-called Nth room case.

At least 103 people, including 26 underage girls, are known to have been exploited in the incident, in which the arrested prime suspect, Cho Ju-bin, allegedly lured victims into taking photos and later coerced them into performing more gruesome sex acts. Their images were shared on Telegram chat rooms.

National Assembly approves bills to toughen punishment for online sex crimes - 1

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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