By Kim Bo-eun
An estranged housewife received a suspended jail sentence for hiring a private detective agency to investigate her husband, whom she suspected was having an affair.
The 49-year-old woman requested the agency investigate her husband last April, the Seoul Southern District Court said Wednesday.
She paid the 2 million won the agency charged and asked them to bug her husband’s car, which was done as soon as the firm received the money.
The husband was completely oblivious and conversed with various people inside his vehicle as well as on the phone. However, he soon discovered the bug and called the police look into the matter.
They discovered that the wife was behind it. Then the husband requested the police to take legal action against his wife for violating his privacy.
The court sentenced her to four months in prison suspended for one year for violating the law on communication privacy.
The case has put the spotlight on mushrooming private detective agencies, many of which employ illicit methods or tools to gather information about people’s private lives on behalf of their clients.
A large number of people have fallen victim to self-claimed agencies that use illegal devices such as bugs and tracking devices. Most of these agencies are run by just one or two people, lacking credibility without having sufficient manpower or equipment to provide private detective services.
Legal experts have called on the government and law-enforcement authorities to crack down on such practices in order to prevent them from using illegal or unauthorized methods.
Last month, police apprehended 39 operators and employees of private investigative agencies for misusing and selling information obtained through a program devised to trace people by subcontractors of a telecommunications company.