October 16, 2023
SEOUL – South Korea is witnessing a surge in sexual assault cases on subway trains, with 784 incidents reported from January to August 2023 alone, according to data from the police and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport.
The data, made public by Rep. Oh Young-hwan of the Democratic Party of Korea, shows a growing trend of assaults that coincides with a post-pandemic surge in public transit usage. The numbers, which include 529 cases of groping or unwanted contact and 255 cases of illicit filming, are on track to exceed the total of 1,218 cases recorded last year.
The Express Bus Terminal station in Seoul reported the highest number of groping incidents with 29 cases, its fifth consecutive year at the top. Yeouido, Sadang and Gangnam followed with 20, 18 and 16 cases respectively, showing a concentration of such incidents in the capital’s busiest transit hubs.
Illicit filming was shown to be notably prevalent in areas popular among young adults. Hongik University Station, known for its bustling nightlife, topped the list with 31 spycam cases. Gangnam and Sadang, also frequented by younger crowds, followed with 14 and 10 incidents respectively.
While reported cases are not conclusive proof of actual crime, experts point to the growing challenges victims face in proving sexual assaults on public transit, citing challenges in obtaining concrete evidence. The trend highlights the need for improved security measures, such as additional security cameras and increased patrol units on the subway, according to experts.