397 nabbed for sharing, possessing porn
Police said Wednesday they have caught nearly 400 people in a massive crackdown on those possessing or distributing obscene materials on the Internet.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) said they have arrested four, including a 31-year-old suspect surnamed Lim, for allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography and booked 393 others for similar charges without physical detention.
Internet pornography has been blamed for a recent spate of sex crimes on children and women that have triggered public uproar.
The crackdown came after police declared a war on sex crimes along with a one-month plan to intensify patrols and crackdowns on child pornography to reduce sex crimes early last week.
In a show of their strong determination against child pornography, the police later indicted around 60 people for simply possessing child porn.
Lim is suspected of possessing nude photos of teenagers whom he met through a smartphone chat service in July, the SMPA said. He is also accused of having sex with a minor.
Sixteen members of exclusive Internet cafes that posted child porn have also been booked, police investigators said. Thirteen of them have previous convictions on molesting children and raping minors, the police added.
Police said they have also booked seven operators of major local file-sharing Web sites, including a 38-year-old operator of a Web-hard service, which has more than 3 million members.
About 200 people, including two middle school students and four high school students, have been charged with distributing huge amounts of pornography on file-sharing Web sites, the investigators said.
The so-called heavy uploaders allegedly posted pornography and in return received money from porn producers.
"The crackdown revealed that underage youths can access pornography easily," a police officer said, demanding tougher measures such as more complicated registration steps for Web hard-drive companies.
Police added that the investigators will reinforce measures against blocking materials, in cooperation with Web-hard operators.
Meanwhile, the government said Monday that it will push to have those who possess child pornography face up to 10 years in jail or 20 million won ($17,757) in fines. The maximum penalty for such offenders is currently a fine of 20 million won. (Yoonhap)