Sentencing for Defendant A & Her Accomplices on the Charges of False Accusation and Attempted Extortion
I. Date and Time
Jan. 17, 2017, 9:50 AM
II. Judicial Bench
Seoul Central District Criminal Court 15 Single Judge Choi Jong Jin
Lee, so-called A, charged with false accusation & attempted extortion
Lee (Defendant Lee’s boy friend, live-in lover) charged with attempted extortion
Hwang (Mob) charged with attempted extortion
All of the defendants were sentenced to imprisonment. The terms of the imprisonment of each defendant are as follows:
- Lee (A) – 2 years
- Lee (A’s Boyfriend, live-in lover) -1 year and 6 months
- Hwang (Mob) – 2 years and 6 months
Note 1: Two of the defendants, Defendant Lee (A) and her live-in lover were sentenced to the same years of imprisonment demanded by the prosecutor. Regarding the fact that there are more cases in which the actual sentencing terms are less than those demanded by the prosecutors, it was certain that the judge found the nature of this crime very malicious. Mob Hwang was sentenced to less terms of imprisonment than the prosecutor’s demand because Hwang confessed about one of the cases he was tried for (a fraud case). Hwang had been indicted and tried for three cases in the same court.
Note 2: Until the final sentencing, Defendant (now, Prisoner) Lee (A) had submitted the letter of apology 11 times since mid-December. To make the letter of apology effective, the defendants should show a sincere sign of repentance and propose some means they would execute for the recovery of the victim. Her sentencing clearly indicates those are not the case for her. Meanwhile, the prosecutor submitted the statement of opinion to the court on Jan. 12th, 2017. The prosecutors can submit the statements of opinion for various occasions and in this case, it seemed to be submitted to call on the court to impose a strong punishment for the defendants.
V. Reasons for the judgment
The reasons for the judgment explained in the following part are all from the sentencing read by Judge Choi Jong Jin on Jan. 17th, 2017 (Source: https://goo.gl/fd0DLw, https://goo.gl/YjECMF, https://goo.gl/rK5M8V, and the tweets by the Korean fans who attended the court for sentencing).
- False Accusation
1.1) The sequence of movements by the defendant and the victim
Around 4 AM on June 4th, 2016, the alleged time of the occurrence of the false crime claimed by Defendant Lee, Park Yuchun (the victim) went into the restroom FIRST for the usual purpose of its use and Defendant Lee FOLLOWED HIM and entered it. She claimed that she entered the restroom to help him. But, Park Yuchun was not in any state of needing an assistance for moving around or he was not too drunk at that time. She followed him after he first entered, not entering together. If she really had helped him or he had been in the state of needing an assistance to move, she should have taken him to the restroom. Instead, she saw him entering and, then, she followed him. Thus, her claim on the reason why she entered it was not understandable. A short time after, the defendant came out first and Park came out later. Right before she entered the restroom, she was singing with the members of Park’s party who were present at that time in the room assigned for them. She voluntarily followed Park Yuchun to the restroom and there was no evidence found that she was forced to enter.
1.2) The structure of the restroom and the lock device of its door
The restroom is very small, less than 1 pyung (3.3 m2). The door was opened from inside toward outside. There was no lock device put on that door so that the door was unlocked. Thus, the door could be easily opened. It was also revealed that defendant Lee and the victim remained together in this restroom in question for a very short period of time. Considering the above facts related to the physical structure of the restroom and its door, such an enforced action of assault by violence and blackmailing was not likely to happen for such a short time. Moreover, the victim could get out of the room at any time.
1.3) The behavior of the defendant after she came out of the restroom
She kept having fun and singing with Park’s party and even gave her phone number to one of them. If she had been actually sexually assaulted, she should have escaped from the room to ask help or to report to the police. She claimed that she pretended nothing happened to hide the fact that she had been assaulted because she was so ashamed. However, such behavior of the continuance of dancing and singing with the party of her assaulter could not be accepted as an usual behavior of the victim of sexual assault.
1.4) The behavior of the defendant afterwards
The CCTV collected at that establishment showed that she was smiling and having a conversation with one of the male staffs at the counter of that place around the time when Park’s party left the place. When her work was over and she left this place, one member of Park’s party (Park’s manager) took her to her home by car. She had claimed that she decided to file the complaint to the police against Park Yuchun because she got angry by what this person said to her at that time (based on her statement of complaint submitted to the police on June, 10th, 2016). According to her, he said to her, “Would you come to my place?” She claimed she felt this person thought very low of her and got angry with his words. If that had been the case, she should have filed the complaint to the police against this person instead of Park Yuchun. In his sentencing, Judge Choi said if she was really assaulted by Park Yuchun, she would not give such statement as her reason to decide to file the complaint. Defendant Lee made a call to Kim, the sale’s manager of that place around 7 AM on June 4th, 2016. Up until this point, she had not mentioned the assault to anyone or had not reported the incidence to any investigative agency. Moreover, the phone conversation between her and the sale’s manager clearly indicated that there was hardly any possibility of her having been assaulted.
1.5) The judgment: Considering the above reasons comprehensively, it has been sufficiently proven that Defendant Lee was guilty of false accusation.
- Attempted Extortion
2.1) Attempted extortion by two or more co-offenders
Defendant Lee (A) and her live-in lover have claimed that the extortion against Park Yuchun and C-Jes was solely done by Hwang and they had nothing to do with it. However, several evidences revealed in the trial process have proven that such claim could not be accepted. The following facts show Defendant Lee and her live-in Lover were part of the extortion attempt.
(1) After Lee (A)’s boyfriend, live-in lover came to know about this case around 1 AM on June 5th, 2016, he came to this establishment around 7 AM and bullied the staffs. He told them he would report to the police if they did not contact Park’s agency right away. Related to this incidence, one of the staffs named Yoon testified in the court as follows; Yoon felt strongly at that time that such action was to demand the money from Park Yuchun’s agency.
(2) Defendant Lee’s live-in lover contacted Mob Hwang whom he has been acquainted with for a long time. He told Hwang that he would give certain amount of money if everything went well. He also urged Hwang not to mention the specific amount of money they wanted because it may make the price lower. The statement that he told Hwang to stand back from the deal with Park’s agency when the matter was not going to the direction they wanted was obtained as well in the trial process. When the deal with C-Jes was broken, Defendant Lee and her live-in lover excluded Hwang from the case and went to the police for falsely filing the complaint against Park Yuchun.
(3) When they had a meeting with the staffs from C-Jes including the manager whom Defendant Lee had met before, Defendant Lee went to the meeting place with the other two accomplices and explained about the incidence (actually fabricated incidence) of assault.
2.2) Attempted extortion obviously targeting monetary acquisition
The defendants have claimed that they arranged the meeting with C-Jes staffs to receive an apology. But, the evidences have fully proved that was never the case.
(1) As shown above, the testimony by Yoon, a staff from the establishment indicates Defendant Lee’s boyfriend’s intention was obviously focusing on the monetary acquisition.
(2) The fact that Lee’s boyfriend strongly requested Hwang not to mention a certain amount of money first also shows their primary intention focused on money.
(3) When these three accomplices had a meeting with the C-Jes staffs, Defendant Lee’s boy friend burst into a rage and made threats against them to file a complaint to the police while Hwang tried to stop him and suggested the settlement money. Such actions by the defendants also display where their true purpose directed to.
2.3) The intimidation of the victim
Mob Hwang and his attorney have claimed that they never have committed any actions of intimidating victim and his agency. However, considering the stress and threats that the victim and C-Jes staffs felt, such claim by the defendants could not be accepted at all. As explained above as well, when they had a meeting with C-Jes staffs, they kept intimidating them with saying that they would reveal this case to the media and file the complaint to the police.
2.4) The judgment: Considering above reasons comprehensively, it has been sufficiently proven that the defendants were guilty of attempted extortion.
- Sentencing Terms
Firstly, the amount of money they attempted to extort was very large. Furthermore, The degree of the damage on the victim was tremendous. After Defendant Lee and her live-in lover falsely filed the complaint to the police against Park Yuchun, he had to be investigated by the police and the media had been reporting this case daily. Judge Choi pointed out that INNOCENT Park Yuchun has been living in extreme mental stress after falsely accused as sexual criminal. Judge Choi also explained Park Yuchun had to suffer a serious economic loss as well as a critical damage to his image, and the damage to him even reached to the level that his future activities as an entertainer would became uncertain. Moreover, his family also experiencing extreme mental anguish to the extent that even their normal life is impossible. In spite of such fatal damages on the victim caused by their crimes, they constantly have made unaccountable excuses without showing any repentance. The defendants have tried nothing to recover the damages for the victim either. Particularly, Hwang committed this crime of attempted extortion while he was charged with other crimes. Therefore, the nature of the crimes committed by the defendants is very serious so that a severe punishment should be imposed on them.
Trans by: Uttunfan
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