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(LEAD) Another key suspect in Telegram sex crime case arrested

National 17:08 May 12, 2020

(ATTN: REWRITES headline, lead; UPDATES with details in paras 2-4, minor edits throughout)

ANDONG, South Korea, May 12 (Yonhap) -- An alleged co-operator of online chat rooms in which dozens of victims were coerced into performing obscene acts was arrested Tuesday.

The Andong branch of the Daegu District Court approved a police request to arrest the 24-year-old male university student allegedly behind the so-called Nth Room sex crime case.

The court said there is probable cause to detain the suspect, whose identity was withheld, for violating the Act on the Protection of Children and Youth against Sex Offenses. It added that he is also a flight risk.

Police will decide on Wednesday whether to reveal the identity of the suspect in the high-profile sex crime case.

The suspect, along with several co-conspirators, is accused of operating a pay-to-view online club on messaging application Telegram for sexually explicit videos. Known to have some 260,000 users, videos of at least 74 people, including 16 underage girls, are believed to have been distributed through several chatrooms.

The man, known by his online alias "God God," is believed to have first opened a chatroom on Telegram. He was brought in for questioning on Saturday after police identified him as the person behind the ID.

"Yes, I admit it," the suspect answered, while leaving the court in Andong, 260 kilometers south of Seoul, when asked whether he admits to charges against him.

The suspect also said he was "sorry" when questioned if he had anything to say to the victims.

On Monday police apprehended the suspect after confessing to being the owner of the God God ID.

Authorities have so far revealed the identities of three other key suspects in the Telegram chatroom case: Cho Ju-bin, Kang Hun and Lee Won-ho.

Cho, 24, was indicted for allegedly blackmailing women into providing sexual videos to another Telegram chatroom called "Baksabang." At least 25 people, including eight underage girls, have been confirmed to have been exploited by Cho.

Kang, 18, was prosecuted for allegedly blackmailing 18 female victims, including seven minors, into producing sexual content. Lee, a 19-year-old Army private first class, has been indicted by the military.

More than 140 others have also been apprehended in connection to the case.

A suspect is taken to a court in the southeastern city of Andong on May 12, 2020, to attend a hearing to review whether a warrant will be granted for his arrest in connection with the so-called Nth room case. Police have apprehended the 24-year-old male university student who confessed to using the alias "God God" in chatrooms on messaging service Telegram and have filed a request with a court for his arrest. (Yonhap)

odissy@yna.co.kr
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