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U.S. authorities charge South Korean Jong Woo Son with running ‘vile’ child porn site

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Oct. 16 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors unsealed a nine-count indictment Wednesday charging a 23-year-old South Korean man in connection with what the Justice Department said is the world’s largest dark net child sexual exploitation website, which was funded with bitcoin.

The department revealed the 18-page indictment against Jong Woo Son, who is in custody in South Korea. Prosecutors said he operated a dark net website called Welcome to Video — where users worldwide viewed what investigators called “vile” and “reprehensible” pornographic content involving children.

Jong’s charges include conspiracy, money laundering and producing, advertising and distributing child pornography. Prosecutors are seeking to seize 24 bitcoin belonging to the man, and extradition from South Korea after he completes an 18-month sentence there.

Authorities said they detected users of the dark net website in 23 states and a wide range of countries, including Britain, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Spain, Brazil and Australia.

“Dark net sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behavior,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a statement. “This administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield.

“The Department of Justice remains firmly committed to working closely with our partners in South Korea and around the world to rescue child victims and bring to justice the perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes.”

Authorities said they used a sophisticated bitcoin tracing method to find the location of the dark net server, identify the administrator and learn his physical address in South Korea. Investigators around the world shared information from seized servers and rescued 23 children in the United States, Spain and Britain who were abused, the department said.

Officials said the investigations led to 337 global arrests, including 92 on various charges in the United States. The Justice Department also named those charged in the United States.





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