It’s hard to set up a setup

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It’s hard to set up a setup

If you’re like us and love to see politicians exposed as hypocrites, you were delighted by last week’s video sting of Yang Gil-seung. A hidden camera caught Mr. Yang, President Roh Moo-hyun’s personal secretary, with his hands in the hostess bar, as it were. The film showed him with a sex worker outside a club in Cheongju after being treated to an evening of “entertainment” and before being treated to a hotel room, all courtesy of a shady businessman.
As for who was behind the secretly-filmed video, it’s still a mystery. Some say it was part of a plot by a faction within the ruling party that wants to take down certain Blue House figures; others say a rival of the businessman set it up.
But we have an entirely different take: Who cares? The whole point is that stings are really fun. We recall enjoying the videos of Washington Mayor Marion Barry smoking crack and the car designer John DeLorean lining up drug deals.
Inspired, we fitted out our Jansport backpack with a hidden camera last weekend and hit the town. Our target? Off-duty, pleasure-seeking American soldiers. We had remembered that the U.S. military a few months back banned its soldiers from about 30 of Itaewon’s bars. The order came after the Korean government and local journalists had been implying that the nation’s ubiquitous prostitution industry and human trafficking problems were the fault of U.S. troops here.
Our plan was to hop from one blacklisted bar to the next until we found a crew cut or cowboy hat, capture the action on tape and send it off to AFN. Starting our search, though, we were surprised to find that not all of the “juicy bars” on or around the notorious hill were off-limits to GIs.
For example, the bar Indian Joe’s, just up from the King’s Club, is taboo, but the Cabin, right next door, is not. Whether a bar is on the blacklist depends on how readily its staff provides services beyond giggling and hand-holding, we heard.
Our once-around of the bars proved fruitless, so we decided to camp out at Indian Joe’s and wait. We had read in a military newspaper that soldiers might have been flouting the ban there.
Alas, no GIs showed up. So after a few shots and offers of “Lock the Door?” we paid our tab and left.
To pull off this sting, we reasoned, we’d have to find some drunk GI and drag him into a banned bar. Little chance of that, though. American soldiers here have noses for reporters and avoid them like the plague.
Still, we’re not giving up on this investigative journalism stuff. The trick to doing a sting, it seems, is to target politicians, especially the self-righteous ones.
Lucky for us, the former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is coming to Asia next month on one of his dictator-promotion tours. We’re counting on him dropping into Seoul to again try to botch Washington’s attempts at preventing nuclear proliferation. Remember, back in 1976 Mr. Carter back told Playboy magazine that lust was in his heart, then qualified his remarks by saying that, unlike others, he didn’t act on it.
Just wait until we get him on the hill.

by Mike Ferrin
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