SEOUL, June 8 (Yonhap) -- Soldiers caught committing digital sex crimes will be automatically demoted under a new set of penalties the military is creating after the arrest of a service member involved in a high-profile online sexual exploitation case, the defense ministry said Monday.
Under the current regulations, demotion is the toughest disciplinary measure that can be taken against soldiers for misconduct, but new rules will be created that make demotion the minimum penalty for digital sex crimes, officials said.
Under the revision, the ministry stipulated coercion using sexual content and downloading illegal videos featuring underage victims as some of the misdeeds that can be punished for violating rules on the use of mobile phones, according to the ministry.
Conscripts have been allowed to use their phones in barracks after work since last year.
Those involved in online sex crimes against underage victims will receive aggravated punishment under the new rules, the ministry said.
The tightened regulations come after a private first class, Lee Won-ho, was arrested in April over allegations of distributing content of women performing gruesome sex acts under coercion as one of main suspects in the so-called Nth room case.
"The defense ministry ... expects the revision to contribute to the eradication of digital sex crimes in barracks and establishment of military discipline," it said in a release.
The revised regulations will take effect later this month.
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