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Court already had Jang Ja-yeon's letters in 2009, but ignored them; unconfirmed name list leaked

A copy of one of the letters written by the late Jang Ja-yeon. They were reportedly submitted as evidence to the court in 2009. Police are trying to obtain the original letters to discern whether they were really written by Jang.

Police said Tuesday they will search a cell in which a close aide to the late actress Jang Ja-yeon is serving a prison term to look for “key” evidence in a resurfacing scandal involving dozens of business and media heavyweights.

The aide, surnamed Jeon, 32, was found guilty of rape in 2003 and has been in prison since then. Police will seek a warrant from a court for the search; and determine whether to reinvestigate the case after examining the original letters Jang allegedly sent to the aide.

Public pressure to reopen the case came after an SBS TV report based on 230 letters Jang allegedly sent to the jailed aide between 2005 and just days before her death in March 2009.

In the letters, Jang described the ordeal she endured as a rookie actress in detail, mentioning 31 prominent people whom she was forced to entertain and provide sexual services for.

Jang, 27, hanged herself on March 7, 2009 at her home, leaving a suicide note indicating that she had suffered severe mental distress stemmed from being forced to “serve” dozens of high-profile figures.

The first investigation based on the note ended up with trials of only two people ― Jang’s manager and head of her management agency ― for abusing her. Other figures mentioned avoided punishment due to “lack of evidence,” according to prosecutors.

Court knows the story

Allegedly, neither hard evidence nor testimony backing Jang’s claims of being forced to provide sexual services to VIPs in the showbiz and media industries have been found.

But court records from 2009 during the trials of Jang’s manager and agency head offered a glimpse into the situation facing the late actress.

The two staffers of Jang’s management agency stood trial at Suwon District Court in 2009.

Back then, the aide in prison submitted a bunch of letters ― the latest news was reportedly based on the replica of them ― to the court.

But the court didn’t take them as evidence against the accused since lawyers didn’t want to do so. In a criminal trial, mutual consent from the prosecution and defense lawyer is required in determining evidence.

In one letter delivered to the aide in January 2009, Jang said, “I will show you a note that has a list of people who afflicted and maltreated me. I will first give you information about 31 people who have hurt me even before August 2007. I will give you the names of film directors and TV producers later.”

She noted a list of high-level officials at a financial firm, an online news media organization, conglomerates and major dailies. Parts of the court records suspected to contain names and other details were censored by being blacked out.

Meanwhile, Jang said in the newly-discovered letters she was forced to entertain and have sexual intercourse with those she met at karaoke and upscale bars over 100 times.

In one letter, she openly expressed her grudge against the figures, calling them “evil” and vowing to “retaliate” even after she died.

Names leaked to Internet

Eleven names of VIPs in the Korean showbiz industry are spreading on the Internet, Tuesday, with a note written by an anonymous writer who alleges they had received entertainment and sexual services from Jang.

Among the names in circulation are executives of major newspapers, chairmen of large companies, former TV producers and entertainment agency heads.

The names began to appear on major Korean-language portal websites Monday night and have been reproduced on other websites. This is the second circulation of the so-called “Jang Ja-yeon List” following the first circulation at the height of the first investigation in 2009.

With nothing confirmed regarding the case, experts say, the circulation of names could amount to defamation.

In April 2009, two lawmakers were sued by a major Korean-language daily for telling the name of the newspaper’s boss as one of the people on the list in a parliamentary session. A journalist was also sued for running an article based on their remarks.

Source: Park Si-soo @ The Korea Times
Tags: crime, death/funeral, scandals

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