Scandal In South Korea Reveals Illegal Filming Of Hotel Guests
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
Police have recently uncovered a massive hotel scandal in South Korea where nearly 1,600 guests were secretly filmed and the footage was live-streamed online. The Cyber Investigation Department at the National Police Agency said in a statement that cameras were hidden inside digital TV boxes, wall sockets, and hairdryer holders in 42 rooms in 30 hotels in 10 cities around the country. Police have also said that there is no indication that the hotels were aware of the scheme. Two men have been arrested, and another two are being investigated in connection with the scandal.
“There was a similar case in the past where illegal cameras were installed in (hotels) and were consistently and secretly watched, but this is the first time the police caught where videos were broadcast live on the internet,” police said in a statement.
The live-streaming website has more than 4,000 members, many of who paid $44.95 per month for extra features including the option to replay the footage. Police have reported that in the last four months, the site has received upwards of $6,000.
According to MSN, more than 6,400 cases of illegal filming around the country were reported to police in 2017 compared to around 2,400 in 2012, alluding to a much larger issue with privacy and illicit filming. This has prompted recent protests and outcry, especially from women who took to the streets of Seoul last year with the slogan, “My Life is Not Your Porn.” Their demand for action led to the launch of a group of female inspectors to investigate the city’s 20,000 or so public toilets for secret spy cameras.
CNN reported that although the current law clearly states that the sentence for charges of filming or distributing illegal videos is up to five years in prison, only about 5 percent of convictions result in jail time, according to a study by the Korean Women Lawyers Association.