What Was the Nth Room? (Disturbing Content, NSFW)

Those of you who read here regularly know that red rooms have been an occasional topic of discussion, and also know that horror/mystery YouTubers are much appreciated. YouTuber ReignBot, who covers subjects like this, recently made a video entitled The Nth Room Chatrooms (embedded below), which deals with something very similar.

The title refers to a series of Telegram channels hosted in South Korea, known as the Nth Room(s), that basically fit the red room definition and were every bit as horrible (with the one exception that the victims weren’t being killed on camera, but tortured).

According to articles about the chatrooms, the victims were blackmailed into performing forced sex acts of all kinds, from putting their underwear on their heads, to full-on rape, as quoted in an article on Koreaboo.com. You may wonder why the victims participated in the first place; initially, the operators of the site lured them via dubious job offers on places like Twitter. They were asked to send pictures of themselves, soon followed by sexual abuse videos. If the victims decided they wanted to quit, their pictures and personal information were used against them as collateral.

Two reporters from the newspaper Kookmin Ilbo eventually infiltrated the chatrooms and witnessed some of the horrific crimes, which was how they came to be known to the general public. As one reporter described:

Most of the victims seemed to be in middle school. The girls are barking like dogs. I saw the girls naked and lying on the floor of the men’s washroom with my own eyes. One of the most basic kind of video was them staring into the camera and masturbating.

The article also mentions that there was a photo of one of the administrators of the site, “Baksa,” commanding one of the victims, who had the words “Baksa” and “slave” carved into their body. The (non-consensual) scarification was a method of telling viewers that the “slaves” were under his control.

A Wikipedia article about the Nth room case explains some of its complexities. A Telegram user going by the name of “God God” created the original groups, named after their ordinal numerals (1st, 2nd, etc.), and thus the “Nth room” nickname. A second user, by the nickname of “Watchman,” advertised links to these groups in another Telegram group called “Gotham room.”

In July of 2019, a Telegram user nicknamed “Doctor” created another Telegram room on which he distributed sexually exploitive pornography, which was accessible to users via a cryptocurrency payment (likely bitcoin). Doctor threatened women by discovering their personal information, followed by uploading their pictures and videos. When news reports first came out about the story, Doctor even figured out the personal information of the reporter and made it public. Eventually, it came to light that Doctor’s real identity was a 24-year-old named Cho Joo-bin, according to the South China Morning Post.

In a second Koreaboo article, one of the victims of the Nth room case spoke out about what happened. She explained that the perpetrators lured victims, like herself, with the promise of money. They targeted young girls who were in desperate financial situations, which seems common in cases like this.

As it relates to the red room phenomenon, the concept is very similar: torture victims on video for a paying audience. The main difference in this case is that the abuse did not take place over Tor. This is not to say that everything that happens on Telegram is nefarious (just as on Tor), but like Tor, due to the app’s encryption and anonymity capabilities, it sometimes lends itself to criminal activity.

It makes one wonder, however, if there are other such cases taking place on Telegram, or on other such apps like Signal or Tox. No verified stories have come out about such things as of yet, but the possibility exists.

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