Netflix’s ‘Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror’ is a Korean documentary about the dangerous and despicable problem of online sexual exploitation of women. The documentary features interviews with journalists and authorities who worked towards cracking down on the people responsible for hosting these images and videos on chatrooms online. In March 2020, their efforts were rewarded with Cho Ju-Bin, the notorious ringleader also known as Baksa or The Doctor, being arrested. So if you’re wondering what happened to him since then, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Baksa?
In 2019, the authorities heard of someone using the online alias Baksa and blackmailing women online. After posting on Twitter saying he would offer part-time jobs for modeling and escorting. Once unsuspecting women replied, he would direct them to a Telegram group which would allow him to get information like names, phone numbers, addresses, and photos. After that, Baksa would blackmail them with the data.
As a result, the women were compelled to record themselves doing increasingly degrading and even violent sexual acts. Baksa would later post the pictures and videos in chatrooms on Telegram, where members would pay up to $1200 to view them. The authorities said that most women and girls had run away from home and would use social media to trade online sex for money.
As per the documentary, Baksa had a watermark on the photos and videos as a way for people to know it came from him. He even referred to the women as “slaves.” The people on these chatrooms would pay for it using cryptocurrency, which Baksa would convert to real money. It was reported that he received around 18 million won as part of the blackmailing and exploitation ring.
The investigators eventually identified Baksa as Cho Ju-bin, a 24-year-old college student at the time of his arrest. Back then, he was the editor of the newspaper at a college in Incheon, South Korea. In one harrowing incident, Cho forced a 15-year-old girl to meet someone to perform sexual acts on him. The authorities believed that the online network he ran blackmailed at least 74 women, including 16 teenagers, between May 2019 and February 2020. Of these, Cho was believed to have exploited 17 women.
Where is Cho Ju-bin Now?
After Cho Ju-bin was arrested in March 2020, he was presented in the media and said, “I apologize to those who were hurt by me. Thank you for ending the life of a demon that I couldn’t stop.” In November 2020, Cho was found guilty of violating criminal and child protection laws by making and releasing pornography and running a criminal organization. He was initially sentenced to 40 years before an additional five years were added in February 2021 for concealing criminal proceeds.
In June 2021, Cho’s sentence was reduced to 42 years after reaching out to survivors during the appeal process. However, he was still required to wear an ankle bracelet for 30 years after his release and was banned from being around schools or working at children-related facilities. There was controversy in February 2022 when a blog sprung up with Cho’s name. In it, the writer, claiming to be Cho, stated that some of the victim statements were untrue. It was promptly blocked. Recent reports have indicated that Cho remains incarcerated at Seoul Detention Center in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.
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