In the wake of all sexual assault charges being dropped against actor Park Shi Hoo, a gang of blackmailers in South Korea have confessed to seducing victims and then threatening to falsely accuse them of rape.
A typical victim is thirty-one year old Mr. Lim, who went out for drinks with a friend last New Year's Eve. At the bar, they met a woman who joined their table. Mr. Lim ended up spending the night with the woman, known as Ms. Jeon. According to Ms. Jeon's confession, she then falsely accused Mr. Lim of rape, demanding the equivalent of $5,400 USD in compensation. Mr. Lim paid, but subsequently Ms. Jeon asked for $90,000 USD more, threatening to go to the police if he didn't pay.
Mr. Lim suffered a brain hemorrhage on January 13th, and some are speculating that his condition was worsened by the stress of being falsely accused of such a serious crime. Although Ms. Jeon has confessed, Mr. Lim currently remains unconscious in the hospital. According to police, Ms. Jeon wasn't an independent operator, but rather part of a criminal gang's "honeypot" shakedown operation. On May 20th, five suspects were arrested, charged with using sex to lure victims and blackmail them for money and valuables. Of the five, three were women. Police say the group is suspected of bilking three victims out of almost $40,000 USD. All of the victims were either friends or at least knew the suspects.
The gang carried through with their blackmail threats on at least one victim, fifty-eight year old Mr. Jeong, who was reported to the police and accused of rape after he refused to pay the demanded amount of $63,000 USD. According to police, the group planned their threats ahead of time using disposable cell phones to communicate. Police announced that they are expanding their investigation to other "honeypot" operations, warning that "since targets of this crime can suffer greatly, even losing their families, we advise extreme caution." What is equally if not more disturbing, false reports of sexual assault can cast doubt on the testimony of true victims.