SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean court docket on Monday rejected an extradition request by america for a South Korean citizen convicted of operating one of many world’s greatest little one pornography web sites on the darkish net.
The South Korean, Son Jong-woo, 24, accomplished an 18-month sentence in April for working a baby pornography website known as “Welcome to Video,” which was inaccessible by common net browsers and for which he collected charges paid in Bitcoin from the positioning’s customers, officers mentioned. The USA Justice Division wished him extradited to face money-laundering and different costs in an American court docket.
However in a broadly monitored ruling, the Seoul Excessive Court docket mentioned that conserving him in South Korea would assist the nation in its efforts to trace down the customers of his website for doable indictment.
The court docket’s determination on Monday was an enormous letdown for anti-child pornography teams in South Korea that had hoped that Mr. Son’s extradition to america would assist deter sexual crimes in South Korea. Among the males in america who acquired little one pornography via Welcome to Video have been sentenced to 5 to 15 years in jail.
In distinction, a decrease court docket in South Korea gave Mr. Son solely a suspended jail time period. An appeals court docket later despatched him to jail, however for under 18 months.
Anti-child-pornography activists in South Korea, who’ve been outraged by what they see because the native judiciary’s mild punishment of Mr. Son, had additionally known as for his extradition.
Mr. Son operated Welcome to Video from June 2015 till he was arrested in March 2018. Regulation enforcement officers across the globe have labored collectively to trace the positioning’s customers and have arrested lots of of individuals in a dozen nations, most of them South Koreans.
Additionally they rescued a minimum of 23 underage victims in america, Britain and Spain who have been being actively abused by customers of the positioning, the Justice Department said in October, when it revealed that Mr. Son had been indicted by a federal grand jury within the District of Columbia for operating the positioning.
In Could, Mr. Son’s father sued his son, accusing him of concealing proceeds from his prison actions. The transfer was broadly seen as an try and open a brand new authorized case towards Mr. Son in South Korea and stop him from being extradited to america.
Within the courtroom on Monday, Mr. Son once more apologized for his crime and mentioned he would “take no matter different punishment there may be for me right here in South Korea.”
Public outrage towards underage pornography has grown in South Korea in latest months, prompting Parliament to move a invoice calling for jail phrases for the possessors and viewers of kid pornography, in addition to for its producers and distributors.
South Korea has additionally been scandalized by the invention of a network of clandestine online chat rooms that lured young women with promises of high-paying jobs online and then exploited them sexually.
Several men are on trial on charges of coercing dozens of women, including underage girls, into performing sex acts and sharing the footage in pay-to-view services run through the messaging app Telegram.