Welcome to Video, one of the world’s largest websites for child sexual exploitation was launched in 2015 and closed in 2018. Overseas investigative agencies in 32 countries have begun arresting all officials and users of Welcome to Video, who, in the United States, are sentenced to 15 years in prison for downloading child pornography. However, Son Jung-woo, who was convicted of turning it into the Dark Web for profit-taking, was convicted and sentenced to an unjust one and a half years.
Then on April 27, 2020, his release was postponed due to the U.S. Department of Justice’s request to summon Son Jung-woo under the extradition treaty.
However, on July 6, 2020, the Seoul High Court decided not to repatriate Son Jung-woo, judging that “It is difficult to conclude that Son Jung-woo will be repatriated given the need to sternly punish sex crimes committed beyond the border, crimes against child sex exploitation, and the need to eradicate international money laundering.” In the process, Son Jung-woo’s father filed a lawsuit against him for concealing criminal proceeds and defamation, which was once again controversial when it was found to prevent him from being repatriated to the U.S. through double punishment. In the end, however, the court ruled that Son Jung-woo would not be repatriated to the U.S. even though it rarely accepted Son Jung-woo’s claim.
In 2013, the president of a U.S. broadcaster was sentenced to 1,000 years in prison for downloading about 26,000 child pornography videos from the Internet. Of these, 50 child pornography videos were the main focus resulting in 20 years in prison for each count. There has been speculation that if Son Jung-woo was repatriated to the United States, he would face a very long prison sentence, which, unlike the nation’s “life imprisonment” could result in a prison sentence of 1,000 years in the United States?
This is due to the difference between the criminal justice system in the United States and our country. In other words, countries that belong to the continental legal system, such as Germany, France, and Korea, do not usually choose aggravated punishment. On the other hand, Britain, the United States, and other countries in the British and American legal circles usually choose aggravated punishment.
Weighting is simply adding punishment for a criminal when he or she commits multiple crimes.
For example, if rape is a 10-year sentence, Korea only punishes crimes that belong to a heavy sentence or adds up to half of a heavy sentence, but does not exceed the combined sentence. Criminals in the U.S. will be sentenced to 15 years in prison simply by adding up multiple convictions.
In general, criminal law, criminal procedure theory, and precedents are interpreted to ensure that even the defendant is not unfairly violated, and it is common for prosecutors to reduce the sentence in the final judgment of the court. The Korean criminal law has a greater discretion in deciding the punishment of judges, and the U.S. sentence appears to be higher than that of Korea, given that judges usually do not sentence serious sentences.
But because this is a difference that arises from different criminal justice systems, neither side can judge right or wrong. However, objectively speaking, I wonder if it is a bit unreasonable to give Son a one-and-a-half year sentence.
In order to create an environment where children can grow up smiling more brightly in the future, I think a stricter ruling should be made on crimes against children.