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(LEAD) Suspect in YouTuber sex abuse probe jumped into river in apparent suicide: police

All Headlines 17:04 July 09, 2018

(ATTN: RECASTS paras 2-3 with more details and corrected age of missing man; INSERTS last two paras with background info)

NAMYANGJU, South Korea, July 9 (Yonhap) -- A man who has been under police investigation for an alleged sex crime involving a famous female YouTuber threw himself into a river northwest of Seoul on Monday in an apparent suicide, police said.

Search is underway for the 42-year-old official at a Seoul-based photography studio, whose identity is being withheld, after they received a witness report saying he saw "what looked like a person jump into" the Bukhan River at around 9:20 a.m.

The vehicle discovered at the site is owned by the missing man, police said. A suicide note was also found inside the car, in which he claimed he was being wrongly accused of the crime and that police are only listening to the victim's side of the story.

Police have been investigating allegations that a YouTube celebrity was sexually molested and forcibly photographed by a group of men running a studio in 2015.

Yang Ye-won made the revelation publicly in May by recounting what she recalled as a dreadful experience, demanding a probe into them for their misconduct and leaking the photos on the Internet. Her friend later made similar allegations.

Police said they are continuing the search but are having difficulties with the operation due to heavy rains that have lashed the area recently.

The suspect has been interrogated by police five times over the past two months and was set to be questioned again on Monday.

Six women, including Yang, have filed complaints against the suspect for alleged sexual abuse. The suspect sued Yang for defamation and telling falsehoods.

elly@yna.co.kr
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