Gu Ha-ra's Ex-Boyfriend Jailed on Appeal

  • By Yang Eun-kyoung

    July 03, 2020 12:58

    Gu Ha-ra's ex-boyfriend Choi Jung-bum arrives at the Seoul Central District Court on Thursday. /Yonhap

    The ex-boyfriend of Gu Ha-ra of defunct girl band Kara was sentenced to a year in prison by an appeals court Thursday for assaulting and blackmailing the starlet.

    The court upheld a lower court's ruling that cleared Choi Jung-bum of making a pornographic video of the couple without Gu's consent but increased the punishment for causing her physical harm.

    The scandal surfaced in September 2018 when Choi filed a police report claiming Gu assaulted him at her home. Gu filed a counter-complaint against Choi for blackmailing her with a sex tape after a gossip website reported the threat.

    The website said that Choi sent the video to her mobile phone saying, "I will end your career," and that Gu pleaded with him not to.

    The lower court in August last year found that the sex tape was not recorded against Gu's will although she did not explicitly consent but gave Choi a three-year suspended sentence for assault and blackmailing.

    Gu committed suicide in November 2019, three months after the ruling. The incident caused an uproar among fans, especially women, with a petition calling for more severe punishment for revenge porn, while women's rights groups called for the resignation of the judge who presided over the first trial.

    But the appeals court also found Choi innocent of making the sex tape without Gu's consent, but sentenced him to imprisonment saying the lower court's sentence was "too light." It said that he abused the fact that the victim is a celebrity and threatened to distribute the video to news media.

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