2 South Korean K-Pop singers sentenced to prison for gang rape

Robie de Guzman   •   November 29, 2019   •   1563

(FILE) – South Korean K-pop star Jung Joon-young (C-R) arrives at the Seoul District Court in Seoul, South Korea, 21 March 2019 (reissued 29 November 2019). K-pop stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon were sentenced on 29 November to six and five years in jail respectively on charges of gang raping a drunk women. Jung Joon-young was also charged with filming the sexual assaults and distributing the footage on a group chat. EPA-EFE/KIM CHUL-SOO

Seoul – South Korean singers Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon were sentenced to six and five years in prison respectively on Friday for gang rapes committed in 2016.

Jung was also convicted for recording and distributing videos of himself having sex with women.

The Seoul Central District Court found that both men participated in gang rapes of women, who were unconscious or semi-unconscious, at two parties held in 2016 in Hongcheon – a city in the northeastern Gangwon Province – and in the city of Daegu, about 230 kilometers (143 miles) southeast of Seoul.

The other three people who participated in the rapes received sentences of four years, five years and eight months in prison, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Jung, who became famous through a TV music show, received a longer sentence than Choi – former member of band FT Island- for secretly taking pictures of 10 women he had sex with and sharing them on an instant messaging group.

Some other artists from the South Korean entertainment industry were also part of this group, in which they joked about drugging and raping women.

The content of this chat group was discovered during an investigation into Seungri, a former member of the well-known band Big Bang accused of facilitating prostitution services, at a nightclub in Seoul for potential investors in his businesses in 2015.

The sentences for the two singers came a few days after the alleged suicide of K-Pop singer Goo Hara.

Before her death, her former partner, Choi Jong-bum, had threatened to publish intimate videos of her.

Another South Korean singer, Sulli, also committed suicide after facing cyber-harassment for posing topless, another example of machismo and misogyny in the South Korean music industry. EFE-EPA

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South Korea pledges US$200,000 aid for victims of Taal eruption

Marje Pelayo   •   January 17, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea – The Government of South Korea on Thursday (January 16) said that it is sending US$200,000 humanitarian assistance to the Philippines.

The said amount is to help some 45,000 Filipinos affected and displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas.

The cash donation will be coursed through the Philippine Red Cross, according to South Korea’s foreign ministry in a press release.

“The assistance is expected to contribute to the stabilization of the lives of the displaced people by providing relief supplies in a speedy manner to people staying at shelters due to the volcanic eruption,” the ministry said.

PH Immigration nabs Korean wanted for cyber fraud

Robie de Guzman   •   December 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A Korean man wanted in his country for cyber fraud has been nabbed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said.

In a statement, the BI said Yun Kyungmin, 36, was intercepted last December 19 at the NAIA Terminal 2 while he was about to board his flight bound for Hong Kong.

He was stopped from leaving the country after an immigration officer found his name in the INTERPOL’s database of wanted foreign fugitives.

The BI said Yun is a subject of a red notice that INTERPOL issued in December 2018 after Korean authorities reported that he is wanted for prosecution.

The Korean government had canceled his passport and a warrant for his arrest was issued by the district court of Daejeon, South Korea, the bureau added.

Lawyer Rommel Tacorda, BI’s border control and intelligence unit (BCIU) chief, disclosed that Yun was accused of operating an illegal call center in Dalian, China that engaged in voice phishing activities to defraud unsuspecting Korean victims.

Korean prosecutors alleged that from 2016 to 2018, Yun and his cohorts managed to defraud some 42 victims whose combined money losses amounted to more than 2.2 billion won or nearly US$2 million.

According to the Immigration bureau, cybercriminals resort to fraudulent schemes by attempting to steal sensitive information through phone calls that seem legitimate, thus victims are duped into believing that the call is from a trusted source.

The suspects would usually call their victims and pretend to be police detectives or prosecutors. They would scare their victims with threats of arrest and prosecution and instruct them to deposit money into certain bank accounts, it added.

The bureau said Yun was booked on the next available flight to Korea where authorities were waiting to arrest him upon his arrival.

South Korea’s top court orders retrial for ex-president Park

Robie de Guzman   •   November 28, 2019

(FILE) – Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye (L) is escorted to a courtroom to stand trial on alleged bribery, abuse of power and leaks of government secrets, in Seoul, South Korea, 25 August 2017. EPA-EFE/KIM HONG-JI

Seoul – South Korea’s top court on Thursday ordered a retrial for former president Park Geun-hye for illegally accepting state funds after a lower court acquitted her of bribery and embezzlement.

In a separate trial to the famous “Korean Rasputin” corruption case, Park, the country’s first female president, was sentenced in July 2018 to six years in prison for illegally taking money from the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

The Supreme Court has now ordered the Seoul High Court to retry the case after an appeals court reduced her sentence from six to five years in prison by acquitting her of part of the state fund loss charge and applying a charge of embezzlement instead, the top court said in a statement.

The Supreme Court said the lower courts’ decisions to acquit Park of state fund loss and bribery charges were wrong as legal principles had been misunderstood and that she should be seen as guilty.

Park, 67, was indicted in January 2018 on charges of accepting around 3.5 billion won (about $3 million) from three NIS spy agency chiefs.

By then, the former president was already on trial for the Rasputin (Park’s confidante Choi Soon-sil) case, on account of which she was removed from office in March 2017 and subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison.

However, this summer, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of that case too, due to a series of technicalities.

As the two prison sentences apply consecutively, Park could be nearly 100 by the time she is set to be released.

The corruption scandals involving Park and also implicating prominent businessmen such as Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong sparked mass protests in South Korea between 2016 and 2017 and shook the foundations of the political and economic order of the Asian country.

Conservative Park has been in custody since Mar. 2017 and is the first democratically elected South Korean head of state to have been impeached. Her dismissal led to early elections, which the liberal Moon-Jae-in won.

Choi was the alleged mastermind of the scandal that rocked South Korea and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Feb. 2018 and ordered to pay a multi-million-dollar fine. EFE-EPA

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