SEOUL, March 23 (Korea Bizwire) — Online grooming, or luring minors through the internet to sexually illicit businesses, will be subject to criminal punishment in South Korea starting in September, a government ministry said Tuesday.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said the revised act on the protection of children and juveniles against sexual abuse will take effect on Sept. 24.
Under the revised law, those who repeatedly send online messages incurring sexual shame or hate to children or trick them into doing some sexual practices with the intention of sexually exploiting them will face a penalty of up to three years in prison or a fine of 30 million won (US$26,000).
The law will also allow police to carry out an undercover investigation into digital crimes against children. Investigators can disguise their own identities or use fake IDs to gather information or evidence.
The new legislation is part of the South Korean government’s efforts to crack down on digital crimes in the aftermath of a sexual exploitation ring scandal that rocked the country last year.
A group of people from a criminal ring was discovered to be making profits by producing and selling sexually abusive videos of tens of women and children through a secret online chat room on Telegram.