Prosecutors request life sentence for prime suspect behind Nth Room case

Posted on : 2020-10-13 17:02 KST Modified on : 2020-10-13 17:02 KST
Moon Hyung-wook charged with distributing thousands of sexually exploitative videos in online chat room
Moon Hyung-wook, the main suspect behind the “Nth Room” incident, is escorted by police to the Andong branch of Daegu District Court on May 18. (Kim Il-woo)
Moon Hyung-wook, the main suspect behind the “Nth Room” incident, is escorted by police to the Andong branch of Daegu District Court on May 18. (Kim Il-woo)

Prosecutors are requesting a life sentence for Moon Hyung-wook, 25, known by the online ID “Gatgat,” who created the “Nth Room” chat room on Telegram.

In a final hearing on Oct. 12 at the Andong branch of Daegu District Court, prosecutors requested a life sentence for Moon. They also requested that the court issue orders for probation, electronic monitoring device attachment, and restrictions on employment at places of business involving minors. As a reason for their sentencing request, prosecutors said, “The defendant committed his crimes in an elaborate and systematic way to gratify his own personal desires, resulting in harm to many people as well as ongoing suffering due to the distribution of videos.”

A special investigative task force on digital sex crimes affiliated with the Andong branch of the Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office referred Moon for trial on June 5 on 12 counts including production and distribution of pornography and sexual assault according to the Act on the Protection of Children and Youth Against Sex Offenses and coercion and special injury according to the criminal code. Moon was charged with instructing 21 minors to film sexually exploitive videos and receiving the videos in question on 275 occasions between January 2017 and July 2019. He also stands accused of making sexually exploitive videos with various accomplices between November 2018 and March 2019.

Prosecutors said Moon posted a total of 3,762 sexually exploitive videos posted to the Nth Room between February 2019 and January 2020. The total number victims confirmed by prosecutors alone stands at 39. Moon has been charged with threatening three parents of victims with the distribution of sexually exploitive videos in which their children appeared.

After detaining Moon on May 12, the Gyeongbuk Provincial Police Agency decided to disclose his identity following an identity disclosure committee meeting the following day. Police initially charged Moon with nine counts when he was turned over to prosecutors on May 18. Prosecutors subsequently added three more in their indictment of Moon based on additional investigation. While being transferred to the prosecutors, Moon replied to reporters who asked what the purpose of his crime had been by saying, “I think I had mistaken sexual views.” He also apologized to the victims.

By Kim Il-woo, Daegu correspondent

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