11:15 pm - 07/12/2012

Perverts Abuse Technology to Spy on Women

A 31-year-old middle school teacher has been convicted of sexual harassment for using his mobile phone to record about 240 women largely in the school and on subways for more than two years.

He was caught secretly photographing a woman under her skirt on the stairs of a Seoul subway station. Police found more than 500 indecent video files saved on his memory card. Victims included students, parents and even female teachers he knows well.

The teacher was dismissed from his post immediately. In May, he received a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison and 40 hours of education on sexual violations.

The incident shocked his colleagues and students, who never thought he was a pervert. Normal in appearance and everyday life, he told investigators that he was driven simply by curiosity.

Fast-developing technology has enabled spy cameras to be installed inside phones, wristwatches, neckties, belts, bags, shoes, pens and even cigarette lighters.

Police in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, confiscated on Monday video recorders installed in a lighter (top photo) and a shoe from a man, who used them to secretly photograph women.(Yonhap News)

These gadgets enable voyeurs to act on their sexual urges. Thriving markets online for those images give the criminals a chance to earn money from them.

Light punishment, lack of regulation and legal loopholes are blamed for the rise of Peeping Toms with covert cameras.

In May, a man in his 40s was indicted for covertly filming 221 women in eight years. The offender identified by his surname Kang made a tiny hole in his shoe and hid a micro-camera inside it, later posting the photos and video clips on a website. He was not detained.

“It is scary,” said Shin Soo-jeong, a 34-year-old woman. “After I heard about the criminal method of hiding a camera inside shoes, I am always wary of men around me on the subway when I wear a skirt.”

Restrooms and public baths have long been easy targets for rigging cameras up on the ceiling and wall. Sophisticated technologies make the devices increasingly hard to detect and produce photos of higher resolution.

A 43-year-old coffee shop owner installed an automobile black box camera inside the restroom last year. The motion-sensing camera recorded over 900 people. He was indicted earlier this year.

“Snapping shots of female body parts belongs to a type of sexual perversion in psychology,” said Lim Joon-tae, a professor of police administration department at Dongguk University.

“Those who are mostly men in the category of voyeurism satisfy their sexual desire by collecting underwear or other belongings of females about whom they fantasize,” he said.

The offenders are likely to be introverted.

“Lacking confidence, they think they are unattractive to women. And they feel more thrilled and ecstatic from such abnormal behaviors than having an actual interaction,” said Gong Jung-sik, a professor at criminal psychology department of Kyunggi University.

As voyeurism is very addictive, they are highly likely to repeat offenses.

The coffee shop owner had been fined in 2005 and given a suspended sentence in 2008 for similar sexual crimes.

“When they succeed once, they feel enraptured. They tend to dig a deeper hole and look for a new target,” Gong said.

Sexual crimes using the mobile phones have been increasing dramatically. The number has jumped fivefold from 231 in 2004 to 1,054 in 2010, according to the National Police Agency. Overall sexual crimes increased 10-fold from 2002 to around 20,000 cased in 2010, meaning around 55 people, mostly women, fell victim per day.

As technology develops, more sophisticated and subtle devices are manipulated for peeping.

Devices such as wristwatches equipped with a micro camera and a pen-type camera can be bought easily both online and offline. Some of them have an infrared camera that allows video recording in the dark. They cost around 200,000 won ($175) to 400,000 won.

At one hidden camera store in Busan, which runs three other stores in Daegu and Seoul, they sell five gadgets a day, adding up to 150 a month.

“We are almost out of stock. They are selling like hot cakes around this summer season. The brand new glasses-type camera is the most popular these days,” said the owner who wished to be unnamed.

Police data shows that these sexual crimes occur more frequently in the summer season. In 2010 around 6,400 cases were reported from June to August, which is 30 percent more than those that occurred from December to February.

Legal loopholes are blamed on the increase of such crimes. It is not illegal to sell spy cams and there are no regulations currently to curb the misuse of the high-tech equipment.

For example, the government recommends smartphone makers to have their devices play a shutter sound automatically when taking a photo or recording a video. However, it is not mandatory and the function has been rendered almost useless by applications that mute the sound. Some apps even show a blank screen when taking pictures or the original background images of their phones.

The current law states that those who take pictures of others’ body parts without consent can be jailed for up to five years and be fined with 10 million won ($8,700). However, in most cases if the violators are a first-time offender, express remorse and are not considered to be a danger to society, they are usually not detained and just fined with much less than 10 million won.

“Considering the suffering that victims experience, the law is not strong enough to make the Peeping Toms realize that they are committing serious crimes,” Lee Sang-hyun, an emeritus professor at police administration of Dongguk University.

Not only sexual gratification, but chances to sell the images online and earn a considerable amount of easy money also motivate the criminals.

“They take those pictures for their own sexual pleasure, but at the same time they do it because they can make money. High unemployment could be linked to the pervert behavior,” the professor said.

Since the crime is committed most of the time without victims’ notice, it is not easy to catch the criminals.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office analyzed 100 crimes in which cameras were used. The results showed 70 victims did not realize they were the targets of the crimes.

Experts recommend if one feels strange then the person should warn the suspect directly.

“Avoiding or ignoring the situation gives more pleasure and lets criminals do the same thing or even more perverted things next time. And asking for help by pointing out a certain person around themselves is important,” Gong said.

Around 80 males in their 20s and 30s were held accountable for the criminal cases in the analysis. The majority of the perpetrators were office workers and students.

Around 80 victims, most of whom were in their 20s, wore either a short skirt or short dress.

“Warning signs should be put on the subway or public places where people crowd. Separate cars only for females and males on the subway can be seriously considered,” said Kim Jin-suk, director of the female and juvenile victims department of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

More frequent surveillance in and around blind spots is required, too.

“There should be more security measures like frequent patrols by policewomen in changing rooms or women’s restrooms,” Kim said.

But enforcing stricter laws cannot be a cure-all, according to other experts. They say it is important to make the violators realize voyeurism is a mental illness, which is curable with proper treatments and medicines.

“Helping them recognize a sense of guilt and sympathize with the victims, along with drug therapies can correct their behavior,” Gong said.


wft. these "solutions". women only cars. no. 
amazonstorm 13th-Jul-2012 07:02 am (UTC)
Here's an idea. Instead of "women only cars", HOW ABOUT YOU TEACH THESE GUYS THAT THIS SHIT IS NOT OKAY?!

Just a thought.
a_cheshire_grin 13th-Jul-2012 12:07 pm (UTC)
Yes! THIS!!
tiddlywinks103 13th-Jul-2012 07:14 am (UTC)
Men are so fucking gross.

Can we please not blame women, and instead teach men IT'S NOT OK. That's how you stop creeps, you don't raise girls to not be creeped on, you raise boys to NOT BE CREEPS.
cagallisakura 13th-Jul-2012 07:18 am (UTC)
"Boys will be boys" is the most bullshit thing a lot of people still believe in.
cagallisakura 13th-Jul-2012 07:16 am (UTC)

"in most cases if the violators are a first-time offender, express remorse and are not considered to be a danger to society, they are usually not detained and just fined with much less than 10 million won."

Like the government fucking knows who's not a danger to society. Everyone deserves a second chance? Go bury yourself in a hole when the peeping tom you let go progresses into rape and sexual assault.
benihime99 13th-Jul-2012 07:23 am (UTC)
So instead of educating people (men in this case) you wanna send the message that women have to hide
That is not the solution.
michurusan 13th-Jul-2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
cagallisakura 13th-Jul-2012 07:42 am (UTC)
Boys are told from a young age that whatever they do will be excused under the “boys will be boys” mantra, and that “boys will be boys” mentality leads to what I call the “boiling frog” problem of women’s sexual boundaries. I call it that because if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will jump right out, but if you put a frog into a pot of room-temperature water and slowly heat it to a boil, the frog will acclimate as it heats and never jump out, eventually boiling to death. Similarly, when we learn as young girls to tolerate “low-level” boundary violations like the ones we often are forced to suffer in silence at school, at home and on the street – bra-snapping, boob-grabbing, ass pinching, catcalling, dick flashing “all in good fun” relentless violations that adults and authorities routinely ignore – it makes it harder for us to notice when even greater boundaries are being violated, eventually leading to the reality that many women who are raped just freeze and fall silent, because that’s what they’ve been taught to do over and over since day one. You tell me what’s more infantilizing: repeatedly letting boys (and grown men) off the hook for their behavior because “boys will be boys” and we can’t ever expect any differently, or creating a consent standard in which all partners take active responsibility for their partner’s safety, and which acknowledges the truly diseased sexual culture we’re soaking in every day.
katzsong 13th-Jul-2012 07:55 am (UTC)
that is a very good reading material. Thanks for sharing it! :)
katzsong 13th-Jul-2012 07:46 am (UTC)
I say teach the guys that it's not okay to harass a girl, in any way. And teach the girls how to kick some ass and crush some nuts >.>
lyuna 13th-Jul-2012 08:49 am (UTC)
This, pretty much. I've been chikan'd here before and since then I take the women only cars whenever possible, but it's in no way a solution to the problem.

And completely OT, your icon just made me go rewatch some Tenimyu >.>
midnightland 13th-Jul-2012 08:10 am (UTC)
There are women only cars in Japan during rush hour, which I have mixed feelings about. It's the worst when I accidentally get on the car next to the women only one and I'm literally the only women but it's too packed to move
brianathebard 13th-Jul-2012 09:13 am (UTC)
This happened when I was in middle school, a janitor installed a bunch of hidden cameras, and almost every single girl who used the locker rooms was filmed or photographed. Some of it was uploaded online, some of it wasn't.

So yeah, just a reminder that this doesn't just happen in Korea or Japan.
pon_pon_pink 13th-Jul-2012 09:49 am (UTC)
yeah i remember some girls at my highschool saying it was weird there were holes in the walls of our toilets. they were closed one day and a few weeks later there again. We found out later that the school found out it was some student who made them to spy on the girls because they found cameras in there. Thought by just fixing it it would be ok but didn't find out who it was and later that perv did the holes again. it was in my last year so i never found out if they finally found the guy but that stuff happens everywhere D:
hisjulliet 13th-Jul-2012 09:17 am (UTC)
The women-only subway carts can be safer yes, but women wouldn't (and shouldn't)even be riding those if society taught men to respect women. It's just like rape culture - society teaches women "how not to be raped", when it should be teaching men to NOT rape. This mind set is just disgusting all around.
dokyungsoo 13th-Jul-2012 10:12 am (UTC)
so so so fucking sick. i'll never understand why people would go to such great lengths to invade the privacy of another - what? does it give them pleasure to know deep down that every time they do it, they deserve to get socked in the face and then some more? wah wah i can't get laid, must well harass someone? WHAT?

and i'm glad i fucking don't. ugh so many disgusting men in this world i can't.
nobodyelse_care 13th-Jul-2012 10:44 am (UTC)
You guys don't like "women only cars"? That's weird...
benihime99 13th-Jul-2012 11:04 am (UTC)
Imo it sends the wrong message.
Unfortunatly "women only cars" are necessary but only because the problem is taken the wrong way.
Victim should not have to hide or learn how not to be harrassed (or worst), offenders (and people in general) should be taught not to harass.

Edited at 2012-07-13 11:09 am (UTC)
la_geni 13th-Jul-2012 11:25 am (UTC)
Making a mental note about the women only cars
noneko 13th-Jul-2012 01:14 pm (UTC)
"Experts recommend if one feels strange then the person should warn the suspect directly.

“Avoiding or ignoring the situation gives more pleasure and lets criminals do the same thing or even more perverted things next time. And asking for help by pointing out a certain person around themselves is important,” Gong said."

How about instead of castigating the victims and giving them advice that may be dangerous to follow, you teach men that it's WRONG TO VIOLATE WOMEN'S PRIVACY.
cordyceps 13th-Jul-2012 03:37 pm (UTC)
What is "appropriate" clothing.
helsic 13th-Jul-2012 02:03 pm (UTC)
Mmmm I wonder why in my country this kind of behavior is not common.
I'm from Colombia and there is many rape cases and sexual abuse in my country but that voyeuristic behavior using hidden cameras and that stuff is not very common.

I think in countries like Korea or Japan where people find so hard to express their feelings and find a lover, there's plenty of forever alone guys with low self-stem and they believe any woman would look at them so that's why (in many cases) they become pervert and voyeur, because they can't satisfies their sexuality with real girlfriends.

In my country its pretty different. Its to easy to find girlfriend/boyfriend or simply sex here because our culture is very open.

Having women only cars is not the solution, they need to change many things in their lifestyles and education.
murasaki_hoshii 13th-Jul-2012 03:37 pm (UTC)
After being flashed once and inappropriately touched a couple times on the bus having a women-only bus available seemed like a blessing and I've learned to always wear shorts underneath my skirt, but that's obviously not the solution
Making the victims having to bother to segregate themselves, create many defense mechanisms so those sick bastards can continue to walk around normally is ridiculous
first of all there needs to be an end to this education that teaches boys they can get away with anything because they "can't control their hormones", that "boys will be boys", and make them understand that women aren't there simply to satisfy their sexual desires
also selling this kind of equipment shouldn't be allowed, there's no way things like that will be used for anything good
and they should also punish those offenders properly, is not only about because it has to take the victims suffering into consideration but also because the feeling of impunity just makes the offenders feel more empowered and compelled to repeat their crimes, maybe even move on to worse forms of sexual abuse

ok, sorry for writing a huge essay, I get carried away talking about subjects like this
falling_empress 14th-Jul-2012 01:24 am (UTC)
i know, i'm so fucking sick of hearing that "boys will be boys" and shit like they're animalistic by nature. no, actually, they aren't. back in medieval times i believe women used to be considered the hormonal super sexual creatures. this whole society of "men can't help it" was created by people; it's all a fucking sham.
jasmineakaiumi 13th-Jul-2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
I thought they already had women only subway cars? I recall reading an article about it some time ago, as well as my Korean teacher telling me they did exist but I have yet to see one in Seoul.
sisterjune 13th-Jul-2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
Actually I think women only cars is a great idea. and they already have such things in Japan and India. and women feel much safer and happier riding them. I know people are saying u should teach men that its wrong. and I ofc agree. But changing an entire patriarchal culture is not something that will happen over night, and as society is run by men and will be for the foreseeable future it is not likely that much is going to change any time soon. So in the mean time wouldnt it make more sense for women to have these avenues open to them instead of making them more vulnerable to harassment while the government tries to re educate the entire male populace (which is a hypothetical since ofc no government will ever care enough to do this esp not in asia)
shineebambi 14th-Jul-2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
exactly its shitty that we need to resort to women only cars and its not a permanent solution to the problem but it is a bandaid that keeps women safe and secure for the time being, until society itself starts to change.
xoxoknlove 13th-Jul-2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
Worst solution possible. Educate the men instead. Women shouldn't have to hide or be restricted because men think it's okay to do w/e they want.
falling_empress 14th-Jul-2012 01:22 am (UTC)
what the hell kind of punishments are those and can anyone explain to me why they've never heard of porn? wtf
mjspice 14th-Jul-2012 05:59 am (UTC)
mte TOP. o_O
talklikeazombie 14th-Jul-2012 08:09 am (UTC)
Bluurgh some maintenance guy at a Sears in Cali had cameras in the bathroom and changing room for years and just got caught. Effing creeps.
shineebambi 14th-Jul-2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
I think at the moment with the way societies are drenched in rape culture that sadly isn't going to be eradicated anytime soon women only cars are a good temporary fix to the problem to protect the women that use the trains now. The real solution is ending rape culture and teaching men not to treat women like sex objects but that takes time and while we work on fixing that we need to protect the women that are being harassed and groped now and women only cars seems to be a good temp solution for that
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