March 21, 2019 / 12:28 PM / 2 months ago

South Korea arrests two for spy cameras that livestreamed 1,600 motel guests

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean police have arrested two men for using illegal spy cameras at motels to film and livestream videos of about 1,600 guests, raking in about 7 million won ($6,200) over the past three months, police said on Wednesday.

A police officer demonstrates a subminiature spycam installed inside a hairdryer which is used to film guests illicitly at a motel, in Seoul, South Korea, March 20, 2019. Yonhap via REUTERS

Illicit filming has surged in South Korea with growing use of mobile devices. Its pop music industry is reeling from a scandal over a celebrity’s sharing of videos he took secretly while having sex.

Police said the two men they had arrested, and two other people, had posed as motel guests to secretly install the cameras, obtained online from overseas, in 42 rooms at 30 establishments around the country since August.

The footage from the cameras, hidden in television boxes, sockets and hair dryer holders, was broadcast live on a website, police said.

“It was the first case we caught where videos were broadcast live online,” police said in a statement.

More than 6,600 cases of illicit filming were reported to police last year, or about a fifth of all sexual abuse cases investigated, up from 3.6 percent in 2008, prosecutors have said.

Last year, tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Seoul, the capital, to protest against illicit videos and other forms of sexual abuse and violence, and to demand stricter punishment.

The law was amended last November to toughen penalties not only for illegal filming but also distributing images without consent, which could bring jail terms of up to five years or fines of up to 30 million won.

On Thursday, K-pop singer and television celebrity, Jung Joon-young, was arrested over accusations he shared his secret sex videos..

In a statement, he admitted all of the charges against him.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Joyce Lee and Joori Roh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel

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