중앙데일리

Abusive ‘porno king’ is held behind bars

Charges against him include drug use, assault, killing chickens

Nov 08,2018
Yang Jin-ho, with hands cuffed, speaks to reporters in Suwon, Gyeonggi, after his arrest by police on Wednesday. [YONHAP]
A businessman who controls two of Korea’s largest online file sharing systems was arrested Wednesday on multiple charges ranging from assault, animal cruelty and profiting off a vast porn distribution network.

The Gyeonggi Nambu Police Precinct announced Wednesday that it had arrested Yang Jin-ho, chairman of Korea Future Technology, in the garage of one of his apartments in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, at noon. He faces charges of assault, coercion and violation of various laws regarding animal protection, private information and sexual abuse.

Yang said he was “genuinely sorry” and admitted wrongdoings when police brought him in front of the press after his arrest. He remained silent when reporters asked him about the specific charges he faces.

Police pinned another charge on Yang - illegal drug abuse - that wasn’t referred to in fulsome press coverage of his other antics. Multiple acquaintances witnessed him smoking marijuana and using methamphetamine in the past, police said.

Yang’s arrest came eight days after investigative journalists released footage of him abusing a former employee and making other employees kill a chicken with a bow and arrow, then decapitating it with a sword.

Newstapa, a media outlet run by the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism, released the footage and reported that Yang had made around 40 billion won ($35.6 million) from the popular online file sharing systems Wedisk and Filenori, which he effectively owns.

The two file sharing websites, which have millions of users each, are known to be conduits of a vast pornography network that spread a great deal of explicitly illegal material like spycam footage and revenge porn. Yang is believed to have made a fortune from such businesses.

Last Friday, police raided ten different places tied to Yang, including his home, the Wedisk office in Seongnam as well as the office of Korea Future Technology in Gunpo, Gyeonggi. The bow and arrow and sword seen in the footage of the chicken slaying was found at a different residence, though Yang himself was nowhere to be seen during that raid.

“We gained an arrest warrant from the court on Tuesday on charges of abuse and coercion as shown in the footage,” a police spokesman said after his arrest. “Given his recent conduct, we concluded he would not comply with a regular summons and, so, decided to arrest him.”

Now that Yang is behind bars, police are delving into Yang’s role in the “cartel of illegal porn distribution,” as civic groups have called the file sharing systems.

A flood of testimonials from former employees of Yang’s companies has been reported since the footage emerged last week, with workers alleging they not only provided the technical means by which porn was circulated but took part in uploading porn themselves.

Local newspaper Pressian as well as Newstapa talked to a former head of Filenori fired by Yang years ago, who alleged that Yang forced employees to regularly communicate with “heavy uploaders” - those who upload a great amount of pornography to the sites - with burner phones in order to expedite circulation of material popular with users.

BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]


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