Korea

South Korean women protest in Seoul over hidden sex cameras

Tens of thousands of women gathered in Seoul on Saturday calling for a crackdown on spy cam pornography, in one of the country’s biggest ever female-only protests.

Perpetrators film or photograph women with hidden cameras in public spaces.

Although distributing pornography is illegal in South Korea, the videos and pictures are shared widely online.

Organisers say women live in constant fear of being photographed or filmed without their knowledge.

Carrying placards and banners with messages like “My life is not your porn”, the women were mostly teenagers or in their 20s – seen as the main victims of the hidden cameras.

“Those men who film such videos! Those who upload them! Those who watch them! All of them should be punished sternly!” they chanted.

The women covered their faces with masks, hats and sunglasses as instructed by the organisers.

Demonstrators said around 55,000 women took part, although police put the figure at around 20,000.

The recent protests began after police arrested a 25-year-old woman in May for secretly photographing a male colleague who posed nude for university art students. She then shared the picture online.

Demonstrators believe police only acted so swiftly because it was a female perpetrator, and pointed to instances of police closing cases with female victims because they could not find the photographers or track them online, because they posted on foreign servers.

While the law mandates a maximum five-year prison term or 10 million won ($8,970; £6,770) fine for creating sexual images, and a maximum seven year sentence and 30 million won ($26,900; £20,200) fine for distributing them for profit, protesters say many receive far lighter punishments.

The recent protests began after police arrested a 25-year-old woman in May for secretly photographing a male colleague who posed nude for university art students. She then shared the picture online.

Demonstrators believe police only acted so swiftly because it was a female perpetrator, and pointed to instances of police closing cases with female victims because they could not find the photographers or track them online, because they posted on foreign servers.

While the law mandates a maximum five-year prison term or 10 million won ($8,970; £6,770) fine for creating sexual images, and a maximum seven year sentence and 30 million won ($26,900; £20,200) fine for distributing them for profit, protesters say many receive far lighter punishments.

By BBC