Wed, Jul 10, 2019 - Page 6 News List

South Korean TV newsreader resigns in spycam scandal

NAMED AND SHAMED:Kim Sung-joon allegedly photographed a woman in a Seoul subway station, the latest ‘molka’ incident to make headline news

The Guardian, TOKYO

A well-known South Korean broadcaster has resigned after allegedly taking photographs of a woman’s “lower body” without her knowledge, in the latest molka voyeurism scandal to hit the country.

Kim Sung-joon submitted his resignation on Monday to Seoul Broadcasting System [SBS] after he was reportedly caught last week taking the photographs with his mobile phone at a subway station in the South Korean capital, Yonhap news agency said.

He was apprehended shortly after the alleged incident after a witness warned the women she was being photographed and called police, it added.

Kim is reported to have initially denied he had taken the photographs, but was then confronted with images found on his phone.

He was not detained, but is being investigated, media reports said.

He later apologized to the victim and his former employer.

“I apologize for leaving a permanent scar on the victim’s heart,” he said in a statement quoted by Yonhap.

“I also wish to ask for forgiveness from everyone at SBS, my former workplace, for causing trouble,” he said.

Kim, 55, joined SBS in 1991 and became a familiar face as the main anchor for the news program SBS 8 News and has presented a current affairs program on radio since becoming an editorial writer at the broadcaster in 2017.

Raphael Rashid, a freelance journalist based in Seoul, said SBS had reported the case — without naming the alleged offender — on its Web site, but added that the article appeared to have been removed after Kim was identified publicly.

Noting that Kim’s name was trending on Twitter and Naver, a popular South Korean search engine, Rashid added: “It’s only #1 because he’s a TV personality. But let’s face it, #molka porn spycam crime is a daily, repeated occurrence. So many cases don’t make the news in Korea because, well, there are just so many.”

Molka — secretly filmed images of a sexual nature that often end up online — has reached epidemic proportions in South Korea, where tiny spycams are easily available and offenders are rarely punished.

An average of almost 18 cases of molka were reported every day in 2017, according to the Korean National Police Agency.

The number of recorded molka crimes rose from 1,353 in 2011 to 6,470 in 2017.

However, the actual number is thought to be much higher, as many women are unaware they have been secretly photographed or filmed, while others are reluctant to report the crimes to the police.

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