'Subway perverts' targeted for crackdown
By Yun Suh-young
Police plan to carry out a special crackdown on subway perverts from Monday until the end of September.
The move comes amid growing cases of women being illegally filmed on the Seoul subway with hidden cameras taking pictures up their skirts or other invasive shots.
According to data released by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Thursday, the number of offenders increased to 186 in the second quarter of this year from 32 in the previous quarter.
The number reported in the first six months of the year, however, decreased by 33.4 percent from the same period last year.
“If we look at the crime by quarters, the number in the second quarter of the year is significantly higher than the first because women wear less clothing as the season changes,” said a police officer from the police’s subway investigation team.
“In winter, there were fewer crimes because people wear thicker clothes. But as spring and summer arrive, women’s clothes become lighter and more revealing. This contributes to the increase in hidden camera crimes.”
About 40 percent of the illegal filming took place on line 2, followed by line 1 with 25.4 percent, line 4 (11.4 percent) and line 7 (7.3 percent). Line 3 had the lowest rate at 4.5 percent.
By time slot, crimes were committed most during commuting hours between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., accounting for 48.8 percent of the total.
Incidents were highest on trains, accounting for about 50 percent followed by acts inside the subway station with 38.9 percent and 9.7 percent on the platform.
By day, Fridays saw the most cases with 19.8 percent followed by Wednesday and Thursday with 19.6 and 18.7 percent respectively. Crimes on the weekends, however, were low at 9.5 percent and 3.4 percent each for Saturdays and Sundays.
“We usually catch offenders during a stakeout or by boarding the subway train with them. Our subway investigation squad operates in rotation all day,” said the officer.
Meanwhile, the police, Seoul Metro and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family held a campaign Thursday at 16 subway stations in Seoul to prevent subway crimes by handing out leaflets to citizens warning them about possible risks and distributing whistles to women.