Actor fires back at assault charges with countersuit

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Actor fires back at assault charges with countersuit

Accusations between popular actor Park Si-hoo and a 22-year-old alleged rape victim reached another level this week.

The 35-year-old actor filed counter charges against not only the alleged victim but also her friend and Park’s former manager, surnamed Hwang.

With no end in sight to the public embarrassment for Park, the troubled actor, who recently starred in hit drama “Alice in Cheongdam-dong,” accused the alleged victim, an aspiring actor surnamed Lee, and the two others with colluding to blackmail him for settlement money.

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“We have collected enough evidence to prove that Hwang talked to the other two to discuss matters over the legal battle against Park,” a person involved with Park’s legal team told the JoongAng Ilbo.

To back up the charge against the three, Park’s legal team submitted records of text messages exchanged between the two friends.

In the messages, the two reportedly discussed how to look more like a victim to the police and demanding a settlement of 1 billion won ($921,000). The police are now analyzing the messages.

The alleged victim countered Park’s claim, through her legal team, yesterday that she never contacted Park before or after she reported the case to the authorities, adding that Park’s defense team has contacted her several times in what is seen as attempts to get Lee to drop the case.

In response to the charges brought against Lee, her legal team released to the media yesterday screen shots of smartphone text messages exchanged between Lee and Park’s friend, who is also accused of having sexually assaulted her. In the text messages, Lee said she was heavily drunk the night she was allegedly assaulted, running counter to Park’s legal team’s claims that Lee was not intoxicated and agreed to physical contact with Park.

There is speculation that after Park quit his talent agency, the management of that agency could have set up the smear campaign.

Hwang, the former manager, also released a statement yesterday in response to the charges against him.

“We only tried to help Park out even though our contract with Park ended as we hoped to maintain a beneficial relationship,” said Eyagi Entertainment, which is headed by Hwang, in a statement released yesterday.

Lee’s friend has also been accused by Park for colluding with her and the former manager to blackmail the actor. Lee’s friend is the same person who claimed that not only the Hallyu star but also his friend sexually assaulted Lee, during an interview with the local weekly Ilyo Seoul last month. Park’s defense team denied the charge.

The reputation-shattering scandal for the Hallyu star began when Lee, whose full identity has been withheld by the authorities, filed rape allegations against Park on Feb. 19.

The alleged victim has insisted Park raped her while she was passed out. The actor claims they had consensual sex.



By Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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