SEOUL, Jun. 6 (Korea Bizwire) — As the summer is approaching rapidly, the risk of voyeurism is on the rise, particularly at beaches and swimming pools.
Warnings of secret cameras were issued earlier this month with the opening of Haeundae Beach in Busan, which became the first of 272 beaches in South Korea to open this year.
A woman in her 20s from Seongnam had the unpleasant experience of witnessing a man secretly filming another woman in a bikini who was tanning at Haeundae Beach last year.
“The man pretended like he was talking to a group of people who seemed to be of South Asian decent, while taking pictures of the woman. After I screamed when they were giggling and checking the pictures they took, they left the scene quietly,” the witness said.
In August of 2014, again at Haeundae Beach, a Chinese national was arrested for filming videos of women’s legs in a bikini on 12 different occasions, while a Nepalese national was fined 2 million won and ordered to take a forty-hour sexual violence treatment program after being arrested for taking pictures of women at the beach without permission.
At a swimming pool in Songpa District in Seoul, one French national in his 50s was arrested after a witness saw the man filming fellow pool-goers in the changing room and showers using secret cameras.
According to South Korea’s sexual offence laws, taking a sexual or humiliating picture of someone’s body can be punished by up to five years in jail or 10 million won in fines.
Tough the level of punishment differs depending on the situation, cases involving pictures of female breasts or buttocks are most likely to see the accused convicted, while stricter punishment is expected for repeat offenders.
Those who are found guilty of charges of voyeurism could face public disclosure of their identification as sex offenders for as long as 10 to 20 years.
As the sizzling summer weather beckons beach-goers to Haeundae Beach, the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency is poised to ramp up security this year, with more than 140 police officers deployed to root out voyeurism.
“When you witness a sex offense such as voyeurism, it’s better to contact a security guard or report the incident to the police rather than dealing with the situation yourself, as the criminal could destroy evidence,” a police official advised.