Police investigating the so-called Telegram “Nth Room” pedophile ring have served search warrants to most of South Korea’s leading crypto exchanges – including the “big four” of Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit and Coinone – as they attempt to track down people who paid to watch video footage featuring the brutal rape and torture of women and underage girls who reporters say were “of middle school age.”
The case has left the nation shocked and outraged, after two Kookmin Ilbo reporters infiltrated the now-notorious Telegram chat room for would-be viewers of the videos. The chat room is thought to have been operational since 2018, and could have as many as 74 victims.
Police this week arrested Cho Joo Bin, a 25-year-old man believed to have masterminded the operation under the alias of “the doctor.”
But, per MBC and Chosun, police are now turning their attention to tracking down people who paid Cho and his associates cryptocurrencies to watch his videos – and today send requests for cooperation to the nation’s biggest crypto exchanges.
Police say that one non-“big four” exchange has already agreed to hand over its data on customer transactions to investigators, while Chosun quotes a Coinone spokesperson as stating,
“We are providing information that has been requested by the police.”
The news outlet quotes unnamed sources as stating that the police now have a list of Cho’s cryptocurrency wallets, and some details about some of the Telegram chat room members who placed crypto deposits in his wallets.
The police are believed to be using this information in conjunction with the deposit and withdrawal records from a number of major cryptocurrency exchanges.
Another exchange official was quoted as stating,
“We cannot reveal any details as we are working with an active police investigation.”
Cho is believed to have asked would-be viewers to pay in bitcoin (BTC) or monero (XMR).
Only two major exchanges – Bithumb and Huobi Korea – currently handle monero pairings.