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Hidden camera-related crimes soar 20-fold in 10 years

All News 17:57 January 25, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- The Supreme Prosecutors' Office said Monday the number of sex-related crimes involving hidden cameras increased nearly 20-fold over 10 years since 2005.

The office said that a total of 6,735 cases of crimes which violated the laws on sexual assault and harassment occurred in 2014, a whopping 19.8-fold increase from 2005 when there were only 341 reported crimes.

According to the office, crimes related to secret photography have been increasing by an average of 1.5 times every year since they marked 1,153 cases in 2010.

Secret videotaping crimes accounted for 24.1 percent of all sex-related crimes, up 3.0 percent from 2005.

This is an indication that one out of every four sex-related crimes are related to secret video recordings.

In 2014 alone, more than 1,000 serious sexually violent crimes happened on subway cars, according to the policy agency.

A prosecution official said the rapid increase of hidden camera-related crimes are due mainly to the fact that the tools for secret photography are rapidly evolving.

Thanks to the growth of mobile phones, digital cameras and the Internet, surveillance technology has become far more widely available.

Also, a growing number of victims have begun to report to the authorities concerned if they are the target of such crimes.

Under the law, those taking or distributing such photos or videos via hidden cameras could face up to five years in prison or a maximum of 10 million won (US$8,500) in fines.

However, most offenders are fined and few end up with a prison sentence. But a recent ruling by the court has seen that a growing number of suspects of hidden camera crimes are acquitted due to the difficulties in applying the somewhat absurd provisions and standards of the related laws.

Over the past few years, crimes of secretly taking photos or recording videos of people's private parts with hidden cameras have risen sharply. Such photos and footage are easily found on file-sharing websites and online communities.

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