Fri, Jan 11, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Cofounder of South Korean ‘spycam’ porn site jailed

AFP, SEOUL

The female cofounder of South Korea’s largest porn site has been jailed following months of mounting public fury over the spread of secretly filmed spycam pornography.

Tens of thousands of women have rallied against the growing phenomenon of spycam videos, known in Korean as molka, which mostly involve men filming women without their consent in toilets, changing rooms and in public.

Soranet — which had more than 1 million users until it was shut down in 2016 amid widespread outrage — carried thousands of such clips among reams of other X-rated content.

Producing and circulating all forms of pornography is illegal in South Korea.

The site’s owner, surnamed Song, was on Wednesday sentenced to four years in prison and fined 1.4 billion won (US$1.25 million) for aiding and abetting the distribution of obscene material, including sex videos featuring minors.

The 45-year-old, who founded Soranet in 1999 with her husband and two others, “seriously damaged and distorted people’s universal dignity and value,” a court statement said.

She had “enjoyed huge profit” from the site, it added.

Song had for years lived as a fugitive in New Zealand, but was arrested in June last year when she returned to Seoul after authorities annulled her passport.

Her husband and another couple known to be co-owners of the site — all of whom have Australian citizenship or permanent residency — remain overseas.

Spycam crimes reported to South Korean police surged from about 1,100 in 2010 to more than 6,500 in 2017, with many of the videos shared or sold online.

About 98 percent of offenders are men, while more than 80 percent of victims are women, official statistics showed.

Despite a ban on pornography, many videos are widely consumed on servers based in foreign countries or secretly downloaded on file-sharing sites.

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