Park Si-hoo to Face Police Over Rape Charge

Actor Park Si-hoo, who has been charged with rape, is to present himself for questioning later this week. Police said on Tuesday that Park, who failed to obey a summons for Tuesday morning, has consulted his lawyer and is willing to undergo questioning soon.

The alleged victim, a 22-year-old aspiring starlet, says she was introduced to Park (34) by a mutual acquaintance identified as Kim, who is also an actor, at a bar in the trendy Gangnam district of southern Seoul last Thursday night.

The woman said she and Park went to Park's apartment in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam at around 2 a.m. after drinking heavily and claims Park raped her when she passed out. Park says the sex was consensual.

Aspiring starlets are often associated with cases where established performers are alleged to have taken sexual advantage of them. In 2008, a member of a boy band was arrested on charges of raping an aspiring singer. In November 2011, a rapper was arrested on the same charges.

A more prominent case involves TV personality Go Young-wook (37), who was arrested last year on charges of raping a teenage girl who wanted to be a model.

A staffer with a talent agency said celebrities are often introduced to aspiring starlets. "It's easy to approach them with promises to arrange a TV appearance for them or hook them up with a talent agency," the staffer said. "In showbusiness, the most important thing is who you know."

The staffer added, "In the past, aspiring entertainers merely gawked at celebrities, but nowadays more and more of them want to meet the stars rather than producers or managers in order to increase their chances of getting a break."

But police warned of the pitfalls facing aspiring entertainers. They tend to be wary when approaching agents, who have a reputation for being predatory and little better than pimps, "but they tend to let their guard down when they meet a star," according to one police officer.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 20, 2013 13:32 KST