The perpetrators who gathered in the chat room “Gotham Room” often said that because everything that happened in Room N was beyond the imagination of normal people, they would not believe it without seeing the video. The perpetrators know very well that this is a cruel incident of sexual exploitation, and it is precisely because of this that they are lucky.
In July 2019, I saw the hell in the palm of my hand
A year ago, we were college students with the dream of being a journalist. In order to gain experience that is helpful for employment, we have started to prepare materials for participating in the “In-depth Report” solicitation of the News and Communications Promotion Association.
The topic we chose was “Illegal Filming” because it was the closest thing to our real-life issues for women in their twenties living in Korea.
We searched the web to find a stronghold for distributing illegally filmed videos and found a plethora of such sites. Although we have been mentally prepared, everything in front of us still makes us feel dizzy, as if we are about to collapse. We never knew that illegal filming crimes were taking place almost everywhere in our daily life, and countless women were unaware of the fact that they were victims.
After searching Google for about ten minutes, a blog named “AV-SNOOP” came into our sight. It caught our attention because it was very different from the ones we saw earlier.
While most porn sites feature pictures and videos, this blog is mostly text. A blogger named “Watch Man” uploaded a lot of comments about illegal candid videos here. One of them was about the Telegram “number room” (the perpetrators headed by “Watch Man” at that time put “N Number Room” called “Number Room”) the text caught our attention.
There is no picture in this post-view, only simple text, but the click-through rate is the highest among the blog posts.
In another review titled “Twitter XX Female Spreading Incident (Number Room)”, we found that a user named “GodGod” posted a lot of sexual abuse of teenagers. After watching, it was written that “slave videos” can be seen on Telegram.
Seeing that the top of the blog AV-SNOOP has a Telegram link to “Gotham Room” (the qualification chat room for room N), we decided to take a look. First sign up for a Telegram account, then enter the Gotham room, and surprisingly, no adult verification is required at all.
After successfully entering the Gotham room, we saw an announcement. It turns out that there are 8 chat rooms from No. 1 to No. 8. In the announcement, the video played in each room and the personal information of the women in the video are briefly introduced.
At that time, there were more than a thousand (as of 10:00 pm on July 15, 2019) anonymous members in the Gotham room alone. While sharing various illegally filmed videos, the men spoke with insults to women, as if they were a commodity for leisure.
Chats like this exceed 1,000 in an hour.
The owner of the Gotham room is “Watch Man”, the owner of the blog AV-SNOOP, who is called “Big Brother” by the members of the room.
”Everyone who uses Telegram is not for watching normal things, right? If you just want to watch AV (adult videos), you might as well go to a Japanese website.”
”Of course, Telegram is a place to watch child pornography videos.”
After entering the room , the number of people participating in the chat has been increasing. Here, what everyone is most interested in is “Room N”. “Watch Man” will regularly upload the name, school, class and evaluation of the woman in the video of Room N to stimulate the curiosity of the members. And the so-called “members of room N” will even criticize the women in the video of room N in Gotham room, and even plan collective rape activities such as “go to XX school to find her”.
It’s not easy to get a link to Room N in Gotham Room.
If you want to go to room N, you must first enter the derivative room below the Gotham room, and the link to the derivative room is released from time to time. After we started our investigation, in just one day, we discovered more than two dozen derivative properties. In the derivative room, there are not only all kinds of Korean and foreign pornography, illegally filmed videos in Korea, but also child sexual exploitation videos, as well as some heinous and cruel images that cannot be classified. When you first came to the derivative room, as long as you shared some restricted-level photos or videos with the chat room members, you would soon be able to mingle with everyone.
In just one derivative room, we found 1,898 pornographic images and 233 large-capacity compressed files. This is only limited to what we have seen. Given that such images are often exchanged between members in private, it is impossible to estimate how many pornographic images are distributed and exchanged in a single day.
The owner of the derivative house often speaks out – “Upload a candid video to get the link of Room N”, “Upload a rare obscene video to get the address of Room N”. But how can we have that kind of video in our hands? At the time of the embarrassment, a manager who had relaxed Gotham room certification conditions said: “I have a link to enter room N here. Those who want to enter room N first change their avatar to a Japanese anime heroine, and then Contact me.”
We immediately searched the website for “Japanese anime heroine”, saved the picture, and set it as our avatar. Then, the other party really sent a link. In this way, after registering a Telegram account, it took us 5 hours to finally get the link of Room N and come to Room 1, which is one of the N rooms.
Entering room N, the first thing that breaks into view is the nakedness of many children. These children are what the members of the Gotham House and Derived House call “slaves”. Most of these children appear to be junior high school or elementary school students, and some of the children in the video are seen naked in public restrooms or outdoors (these are just some of the behaviors that “GodGod” instructs children to do). It seems that the children filmed the above video according to the instructions of the members of Room N.
Seeing these videos, we couldn’t say a word for a long time, and the spiritual world was in chaos. This turned out to be what actually happened in reality! Just in Korea, people who lived in the same era as us committed such atrocities! Our brains go blank. We just can’t believe it, and we don’t want to believe it’s true. At this moment, we saw another announcement posted in Room N:
All the videos and photos posted here were shot by threatening girls with “accounts that post indecent content”.
Because they disobeyed the request and tried to escape, you are free to distribute and use these videos.
The victims were trapped in the prison called Room N. “GodGod” must have taken advantage of the children’s fear of being known to their parents and schools by threatening them! Thinking of the terror of the victims when they are threatened brings a wave of sadness to our hearts. Heinous crimes are taking place in Telegram chat rooms! Every second we see new perpetrators, victims, and sexual exploitation videos.
While our original purpose was investigative reporting, now, we can’t just sit back and watch. It is imperative to call the police.
The perpetrators and their “spiritual pillars”
in the Telegram chat room were in the Gotham room when we started the investigation in July 2019. There were 8 rooms from No. 1 to No. 8 in total. The announcements of Gotham Room are almost always the slogans of Room N. Its manager “Watch Man” always arouses the curiosity of members through announcements, but if one of the newcomers asks “where can I watch the video of Room N”, he will refuse on the spot. In this way, “Watch Man” attracts members to take the bait through announcements, trying to outdo the swarming crowd. This seems to be done to create an illusion: I’m just promoting Room N in my blog and Telegram chat rooms (Gotham Room), and I’m not directly making sexual exploitation videos like “GodGod”, so I don’t count crime.
Since “Watch Man” is the owner of the house, he often receives questions from members of the group. After sorting out his answers, we learned that he is currently 25 to 30 years old, a lecturer at a mathematics college, and unmarried. Someone asked him if he was married. At that time, he replied: “There are many children in the cram school, why do you have to get married?” The person who spread the video of child sexual exploitation turned out to be a lecturer at the academy… Although what he said could not be completely believed, it still made us shudder. .
He said that “Telegram will not even leak information about terrorists”, so that everyone does not have to worry, and called the Gotham room he manages “the user’s manual for Telegram beginners”, which seems very proud.
Too many people get pornographic images through his Gotham room and blog. The identity of this “Watch Man” must be found out and the police must be called, so as to prevent more people from finding room N through Gotham room, watching and spreading the sexual exploitation video inside. We immediately screenshotted everything about the identity of “Watch Man”.
Is it feasible to report the incident in Room N?
In addition to Room N, there are various chat rooms for sexual exploitation, such as sexual harassment, crime simulation, and acquaintance bullying. We thought, what should we report? The perpetrators who gathered in Gotham Room often said that because everything that happened in Room N was beyond the imagination of normal people, they would not believe it without seeing the video. This also convinced us that what happened in Room N would probably only be seen in adult anime, so the Korean media wouldn’t believe it and it wouldn’t be reported. The perpetrators know very well that this is a cruel incident of sexual exploitation, and it is precisely because of this that they are lucky. Searching the portal for “Telegram” “Digital Sexual Exploitation Crime”
”Room N”, we did not see any reports related to the incident.
In mid-July 2019, “Watch Man” once ridiculed that “there was a (reported) woman who wanted to write Twitter xx” “If it spreads on the Internet, the media will come and report it. But everyone will feel this It’s a strange urban talk, and no one will believe it.”
”Kelly”, the operator of Room N, also said: “Let this be an event that only about 1,000 people in Korea know about.” In fact, he is especially active in Gotham rooms with far more than 1,000 people. a member. We once saw a member of Gotham Room who came after seeing the link in an online community with more male users. In fact, when we searched for “room N”, “room number”, etc. on Google, we found that there were posts related to the incident of room N in the online communities “Joke Dog” and “Funny University” where male users are the majority. However, this type of text was deleted as soon as it was discovered because it violated community regulations, and no one reported it to the police.
At the end of July, our concerns grew as the deadline for submissions set by the “In-depth Report” call approached. We are concerned that publishing reports related to Room N through the solicitation campaign will bring greater suffering to the victims. In addition, if the report is published, if it does not get the attention it deserves, it may bring about the negative effect of publicizing room N. So we are very cautious about reporting, and we are also full of concerns. The important thing is the large media. If the large media pay enough attention to the incident in Room N and continue to report in depth, the situation will be much better. The media needs to strengthen the strong guidance of continuous investigation and severe punishment of the perpetrators, so as to protect the victims. We decided to seek advice from Senior Park, a journalist we met as an intern at Kookmin Ilbo.
Senior Park told us that if the police cooperated, the incident should be reported cautiously. Like us, he was concerned that this would cause secondary harm to the victim. But he believes that as a journalist, we should also stick to the position that “an incident without victims is unfounded”.
After several days of deliberation after getting the advice of Senior Park, we finally figured out that if it can change society for the better, then reporting is the right thing to do. Don’t ignore the harm that happened in front of you because you are worried that the report will cause secondary harm to the victim. The sex crime gangs we have seen with our own eyes in the past month must be eliminated as soon as possible.
In order to protect the victims who are in the dead end of the law, and to severely punish the perpetrators hiding in the Telegram protective shell, we have written a complete report on the incident in Room N in South Korea.