A vacation home in Wonju, Gangwon Province, is shown on Thursday. A group of social leaders allegedly had sex parties with women hired by construction broker Yun Jung-cheon there from 2008 to 2012, in return for business favors from Yun. / Yonhap
‘Vice minister captured in act on video'
By Kim Jae-won
It is like a scene from an orgy in Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut."
People with power, with their faces covered with masks, have sex in public with a girl of their choice.
According to police and reports, Thursday, at least 12 people including a vice minister, three senior police administrators, doctors, prosecutors and media executives took part in such an orgy, one of many that have been taking place for some time at a businessman's country home.
Police raided the house and obtained videos and CCTV records showing people having sex, and confiscated various sex aids, according to sources.
They also secured testimony from a woman, identified as Choi, that she provided sexual services for vice justice minister Kim Hak-eui, 56, a former lifelong prosecutor, in the luxury vacation home in Wonju, Gangwon Province in 2009.
Another woman surnamed Kwon submitted video clips of intimate encounters between Kim and Choi to police.
"The two women identified a dozen influential figures, including Kim, several high-ranking government officials, a former lawmaker and a head of a general hospital," a police officer said on condition of anonymity.
The Ministry of Justice declined to comment on the case. But Kim offered to resign Thursday. "All the allegations are not true. But I decided to step down as I can't fulfill my duty with my name being dishonorably mentioned in reports, with a hope that I no longer add any more burden to the new government," he said in a statement.
Police are widening their investigation into whether Kim peddled his influence in helping the businessman, Yun Jung-cheon, 51, who has been acting as a broker for mid-sized construction companies since 2011 when his own business went bankrupt.
The guests played golf together on weekends before having dinner and sex parties, according to police.
Observers say the case will be one of the biggest sex scandals here if the allegations turn out to be true. Local media reported that the influential figures had collective sex parties with 10 women hired by Yun, in the luxury home on 7,000 square meters of land on the banks of the River Namhan.
Yun reportedly threatened officials with the release of video clips he made on his cell phone, to get favors from them. He is known to have won 4.7 billion won in construction orders from a general hospital whose chief was one of his "guests."
Police said they are looking at the clips to identify the officials, and will question them to see if they helped Yun win construction contracts.
The widening sex scandal was first brought to police attention when a woman sued the businessman and another man for rape and extortion last November.
Experts say that the case illustrates clearly how deeply and widely corruption is rooted in society.
"Businessmen are tempted to bribe government officials because they have authority in approving business deals worth tens of billions won," said Pyo Chang-won, a freelancer criminal psychologist who previously worked for the National Police Academy.
Pyo said the government needs to set up measures to disclose connections between "lobbyists" and government officials.
"To prevent such risky connections, the government should make the decision making process more transparent by installing independent commissions."
He took the example of Hong Kong which set up an independent agency specialized in anti-corruption investigations.
"Hong Kong reduced officials' corruption by establishing a special anti-corruption agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption. We need to create a similar one," said Pyo.
Observers say the sex scandal case raises question of the human resources policy of President Park Geun-hye who appointed Kim to the No. 2 spot earlier this month. Sources from Cheong Wa Dae said that Park was upset by the scandal and rebuked her aides for not reporting it earlier.
If allegations against Kim prove to be true, sexual bribery will be added to the range of wrongdoings by her high-ranking government officials, which already include land speculation, lobbying for private companies after retirement and thesis plagiarism among others.
This is the latest incident in a series of sex scandals involving social leaders. In 2009, famous actress Jang Ja-yeon killed herself after leaving a note stating that she was forced to provide sexual services for such people, including executives of media companies and broadcasting producers.
Police investigated Jang's case, but few were indicted due to what they said was a lack of evidence, which angered the public.