Lawyer Shin Jong Bum’s Court Story (57) – Park Yuchun & Kang Jung Ho
Published on the Law Journal, 2016.07.15
Shin Jong Bum
Lawyer from Law Office Nurim
Former Military Prosecutor affiliated with Ministry of National Defense
I did not know well who Park Yuchun was. One day, after I’ve seen his name being placed as No. 1 on the real time search words, I searched for him and found out a report of sexual assault allegation was filed against him and came to know he was a quite famous Hallyu star. Then, I realised I may have seen him on TV. When I said I didn’t know Park Yuchun well, people called me ‘Ajae’ (different form of ahjussi). Anyhow, a report of allegation was filed against him that he sexually assaulted an alleged victim in a toilet inside the place while he was drinking at a amusement-drinking establishment. The plaintiff was an employee at that establishment. The reports related to this case almost covered all the media and Internet. The plaintiff filed the report a week after from the date of being assaulted and withdrew the report a few days later. But, the crime of rape wasn’t an offense subject to complaint anymore, the police continued to investigate. Meanwhile, all sorts of reports were uploaded via newspaper and internet sites and so-called specialists appeared in general service channels and disgorged various kinds of assumptions. Such channels kindly let us know in details about the contents that likely to stir up peoples’ curiosity and instincts including the relationship between the plaintiff and Park Yuchun, who were with him while drinking, what kind of establishment that place was, why the toilet was the place of sexual assault and how much was given in exchange for withdrawing the report. Moreover, the case which seemed to be wrapped up with the withdrawal of the report rather significantly magnified. As soon as the report had been withdrawn, three more women consecutively filed reports claiming to be sexually assaulted by Park. The case amplified the interests from public more and heated up the Internet and media. The focuses of cameras kept a close watch on Park’s agency and the district office where he was working as a public service worker and took every move of his. He barely managed to commute to his work place without being surrounded by robust security guards. His look caught among the security guards was too haggard to be suitable for the name of a Hallyu star. Regardless of the investigation result, he seemed to be already given a severe sentence by the public. Then, one month later, the news came out reporting that the police would proceed all four of sexual assault reports against him with being not guilty. However, the reports on Park’s being found not guilty was briefly dealt with while giving its place to the reports on other important issues such as the case of a certain high-rank government officer who compared ordinary Korean people to dogs and pigs or the THAAD deployment to Korea. Now, the people and media seem to have no interest in him being not guilty.
I am well aware of Kang Jung Ho. Partly because I like baseball since I was a child so that I’ve known about many professional baseball players. And, in this case, it is more likely because Nexon to which Kang Jung Ho used to belong is one of my favorite teams. After he entered Major League Baseball which is full of prominent players last year, he has shown confident attitude without being daunted at all and recorded many hits and home runs. Even though he joined his team a little late this year due to the operation of the injury he had gotten during the game at the end of last year and consequent rehabilitation, he has continued to show good records and surpassed all the worries from the people around him. Yet, I heard the news that a report based on the allegation of sexually assaulting a women was filed against him. Maybe because I hadn’t known Park Yuchun so well, I thought Kang Jung Ho’s case was a bigger news than Park Yuchun’s. I thought subsequent reports related to this case would continue and there would be a fuss one more time on the internet and media. However, after the news that reporting Kang Jung Ho was being in the investigation for the allegation of sexually assaulting a woman, there was no further news beyond it. It was hard to find subsequent reports or some other reports that would attract our curiosity. The day after the case was reported, Kang Jung Ho played as the cleanup hitter in the starting lineup and even made a reverse hit. During the interviews with the media as a contributing player, there was no mention about the sexual assault case. His team and all the personnel as well as Kang Jung Ho haven’t responded any interviews related to the sexual assault case and the media has not made any kind of reports that are based on speculations. There has been no source from the local media so Korean media isn’t likely to have any story to write either. Anyway, up to the point when the investigation result comes out, Kang Jung Ho seems to play the game as usual and demonstrates his caliber.
The reports based on the allegations of sexual assault were filed against both Park Yuchun and Kang Jung Ho. While Park Yuchun was already marked as a criminal even before the investigation result came out so that it became almost impossible for him not only to work in the entertainment field, but also to live a daily life due to the media attention and the cold stare from public, Kang Jung Ho has appeared in the game and has swung his bat as though nothing happened and the fans of the team which he belongs to approve his entry to the lineup. Why have existed such differences? We can find the reason from the differences between the perspectives among people in the two countries toward how to view entertainers and sports players or the differences of the media environment between two countries. Above all, we can get a sense of the reason from the differences of the attitudes toward how to treat the alleged suspects of criminal cases. After the report was filed against Kang Jung Ho, his team has given him no disadvantage according to ‘the presumption of innocence’ with making it clear that the case is still at the stage of evidence collecting and his team hasn’t responded to any interviews related to the case. Again, the US police that is currently investigating this case says it won’t give any official statements until the indictment decision will be made. ‘The presumption of innocence’ which is also specified by our Constitution is a grand principle for the criminal action. Moreover, according to our criminal law, the investigation organization will be punished if it violates the principle of publication of facts of suspected crime before a demand of a trial. It is questionable indeed such principle has been kept in Park Yuchun’s case. We have witnessed the instances that reporting unidentified facts of suspected crime before indictment has caused irreparable damages to somebody in spite of later receiving the final verdict of not guilty by the court. The abuse of human rights by the instinctive curiosity from the public with the disguised name of right to know should be prevented. Indeed, I am wondering whether Kang Jung Ho could be continuously appearing in the game if he were in Korea.
Source: Law Journal
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