Korean Netizens Outraged After The Father of The World’s Largest Child Porn Site Owner Pleads For Leniency

“Like father, like son they say.”

Content Warning
This article includes descriptions of sexual assault that may disturb some readers.

Back in 2017, an international cooperative investigative operation by the UK, US, Germany and Korea tracked down the 24-year-old Korean man Son Jong Woo for owning and operating the website “Welcome to Video (W2V)” — one of the world’s largest child pornography platform established 2015.

This seized “dark web” site, sharing over 8 terabytes of child pornography only, is said to have accumulated 3,344 paying users, amongst a million visitors — 310 of whom have been tracked down and investigated. The international law enforcement partners which have cooperated in the investigation reported that by February 2018, the site had accrued Son Jong Woo 415 bitcoins in profit (around 3.6 million USD) — with 25K different videos offered accessible and 20K more saved on the server. These said videos captured assault, rape, and mutilation of infants and children aged 6 months to 5 years. A shocking 45% of these videos is said to have been exclusive to W2V, with some of the children involved to have been identified as reported-missing.

In May 2018, after two trials, the Korean court sentenced Son Jong Woo to 18 months of imprisonment with an April 27, 2020 release date. The said “lenient penalty” greatly frustrated Koreans — as well as the United States law enforcement. In October 2019, the American and Korean legal authorities reported to have begun negotiating Son Jong Woo’s extradition, based on the fact there is an American victim on the W2V site.

As soon as the news of the negotiation broke, Koreans petitioned for Son Jong Woo to be handed over to the US for a heavier sentence. This petition received over 300K signatures, leaving Koreans hopeful that the extradition will get approved. By April 20, 2020, a week before Son Jong Woo’s expected release date, the Korean court issued another arrest warrant pending the Korean Ministry of Justice’s decision on the extradition.

Hence, on April 27, 2020, Son Jong Woo did not get released from prison as scheduled. Son Jong Woo submitted a review of the legality of his prolonged arrest and detention on May 1, 2020. The review was denied as Son Jong Woo posed a high risk of fleeing upon release.

Then on May 4, 2020, Son Jong Woo’s alleged father petitioned for his son to be kept in Korea. The petition pled for the citizens’ forgiveness “of a young man who has so much life to live“.

I am the father of the W2V site owner Son Jong Woo. First, I apologize to everyone who has been affected by the wrongdoings of my son. Jong Woo grew up with his grandmother since he was 4 years old, after my wife and I got divorced during the financially difficult time of Korea’s IMF. I felt bad for leaving him in the countryside without any friends, so I bought him a computer. Since then, the computer had been his only friend. I was busy with work, I couldn’t look after him. He stopped going to school because everything took money and I already had a lot of debt. It was a tough time for all of us. He started working so he could afford himself. He committed the crime while trying to save money to get us a bigger place to live all together. I know what will happen to my son if he gets sent to the United States. How will a father live after sending his son away to such a faraway place?

— Son Jong Woo’s Father

The father asked Koreans to sign the petition so Son Jong Woo can stay in Korea, even if it meant he must be tried again to serve a longer sentence.

I hear if the US took my son, he would be looking at 50-100 years in prison. My son didn’t even graduate middle school. How will he survive in the US where they speak a different language and eat non-Korean food? The thought Jong Woo serving imprisonment in America breaks my heart… Most countries will fight to protect its citizen regardless of the severity of the crime… But my son is only 24. He has so much life ahead of him. He hasn’t always been a bad person at heart. And it isn’t like he committed murder or assaulted rape. I hope parents can understand where I’m coming from. How can I send my son to a land from where he won’t ever return? Please let him pay for his sins in his own country.

— Son Jong Woo’s Father

The petition sparked an intense outrage amongst Koreans and an even fiercer movement to allow the offender’s US extradition. While the negotiation continues, Korean netizens heavily criticized the father for “having no sense of regret.”

  • “Breaks his heart to send his son to the US because of the language and food…? Does he think his son is going on a vacation or something? He’s paying for his crime, sir. Wake up.”
  • “What about the years of lives that the victims had to live? So shameless.”
  • “If the US has charges to press, let them press the charges. You’re also at fault for raising a monster, so I’d advise you to stay quiet throughout this all.”
  • “Oh okay, so if your son is only 24 years old and not a murderer or a rapist, it makes everything okay? I see that you feel no guilt for the victims who survived your son.”
  • “He hasn’t always been a bad person, WOW. I hope he gets sentenced to a hundred years in prison in the United States.”

  • “Um… Yeah, okay. Why don’t you follow him into prison and share the sentence then? Everyone went through the IMF. If everyone who went through it ended up like your son, Korea would have been like Gotham.”
  • “Look at you blabbering, after raising a son like that.”
  • “Wow, reading this made me even more furious. How can a human being be that selfish? His son must be so precious to him. But what about the victims?”
  • “Like father, like son they say.”

  • “Poverty and lack of education cannot ever be the reasons.”
  • “Nope. He needs to go face what he did in the United States.”
  • “So you’re saying anyone who has grown up with grandparents are potentially this psychotic? Don’t be foolish.”
  • “My family went through a lot too, but I didn’t turn out to be a criminal. Growing up in poverty does not and should not justify anything. This makes me so angry.”
  • “This is literally insane. Just follow him to the f*cking United States then. Jesus.”

Meanwhile, Son Jong Woo’s elementary and middle school classmates have come forward to share his yearbook picture and stories about his keen computer skills. These statements, contradicting the alleged father’s claim that Son Jong Woo “hasn’t always been a bad person at heart“, only fueled the netizens’ hatred.

An alleged elementary school yearbook photograph of Son Jong Woo

Son Jong Woo is said to have been good at using the computer since he was in elementary school. He ‘liked to talk dirty‘ to his female classmates. By middle school, he made money selling viagra online via a webpage he created. He quit school to prepare for the GED. But at one point, he disappeared after claiming that he is going to work on a porn site. It is likely that Son Jong Woo began running the W2V site at home after this point.

— Sports Seoul Coverage

Source: THEQOO, Namu Wiki, MK and Sports Seoul
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