Soccer star accused of lying in sexual video scandal

A legal representative for the Hwang Ui-jo, 31, claimed that he has presented evidence to the police backing his claims, stressing that the video in question was filmed with consent as his smartphone was placed in plain view of the alleged victim.

Yoon Min-sik

Yoon Min-sik

The Korea Herald


Emblem of the National Polica Agency of South Korea. PHOTO: THE KOREA HERALD

January 15, 2024

SEOUL – The scandal surrounding South Korean soccer player Hwang Ui-jo has continued to escalate, with the national team striker reiterating his stance Sunday that the videos he filmed of a sexual encounter with a woman were taken with consent, while the woman claimed that Hwang is telling lies.

A legal representative for the 31-year-old athlete claimed that Hwang has presented evidence to the police backing his claims, stressing that the video in question was filmed with consent as his smartphone — the device that recorded the act — was placed in plain view of the alleged victim.

But a lawyer for the victim released a statement arguing that the fact that the phone was placed in plain sight does not mean that she had consented to being filmed. The lawyer also said that another video of the encounter filmed on the victim’s phone, which Hwang has claimed to be evidence that she agreed to being recorded, was recorded by Hwang himself.

Hwang, a forward of the Premier League club Nottingham Forest, has been embroiled in the scandal since a person claiming to be his ex-girlfriend released sexual videos featuring the striker on social media on June 25, 2023. It was later revealed that the woman who distributed the video online was actually his sister-in-law, who is currently on trial for releasing the videos without consent and threatening Hwang not to press charges against her.

Hwang has been questioned as a witness since then. But the police have been investigating him as a suspect since Nov. 18, after finding evidence that suggested Hwang may have recorded the footage illegally.

On Nov. 23, the victim’s lawyer released a mobile messenger app conversation between her and Hwang. The messages showed that she had requested that Hwang erase the video and that she told Hwang that she “clearly said she did not want it (to be recorded).” One of the messages from the woman also said, “You (Hwang) must admit that you did an illegal thing.”

The conversation also showed Hwang apologizing and saying, “I didn’t know a thing like this would happen when I took the video.”

The victim also said Hwang revealing the fact that she was a TV personality and married constituted a sort of secondary offense against her.

In light of the scandal, the Korea Football Association on Nov. 28 said that it will not select Hwang to be a part of the national squad until the investigation surrounding him reached a clear conclusion.

The focal point of the legal dispute surrounding Hwang is whether or not the woman consented to herself being filmed. South Korea’s Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Sexual Crimes stipulates in Article 14 that a person who takes a photograph or video of another person’s body, which may “cause any sexual stimulus or shame against the will of the person who was shot,” is to be punished by up to seven years in prison or 50 million won ($38,000) in fines.

There are some cases in which a court decides there are reasons to believe consent was given, even without explicit evidence to indicate as such.

In September 2022, the Supreme Court cleared illegal filming charges for singer-songwriter Bobby Jung, who was accused of illegally filming a sexual encounter between him and his then-girlfriend, who had passed away before the time of the trial. Given that the girlfriend had consented to being filmed the previous day, the court said there was not enough evidence to believe that she had not given consent in this particular incident.

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