Men busted for motel spycams

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Men busted for motel spycams

Two men who installed miniature spy cameras in 30 motels and live-streamed footage of around 1,600 guests were arrested, police announced Wednesday.

Since August last year, a 50-year-old man surnamed Park and a 48-year-old man surnamed Kim installed spy cameras in 42 rooms in 30 motels located in 10 cities throughout the country.

The diameter of the camera lenses was smaller than 1 millimeter (0.04 inches), and the two men installed them in parts of TVs, power sockets and even in the hangers for hair dryers that hang on the wall in bathrooms.

Each camera had a wireless function that allowed the men to upload online videos taken on the camera to various websites.

The lives of around 1,600 guests in these motel rooms were streamed live on a pornography website that Kim ran on an overseas server.

Park and Kim made users pay for the videos on the website, and they made some 7 million won in total ($6,197) from 97 members.

They were caught when a user reported the website to police in December last year.

Police also booked two other men who assisted Park and Kim by paying for the spy cameras.

This is the second time in Korea that suspects were arrested for installing wireless cameras in motel rooms.

The first time was in June last year, when police caught suspects who had installed wireless cameras in motel rooms but had not shared the footage online.

All forms of pornography are illegal in Korea.

Regarding the use of spy cameras, the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Crimes states that “a person who takes photos of another person’s body, which may cause any sexual stimulus or shame against the latter’s will, by using a camera or similar mechanism, or who distributes, sells, leases, provides, or openly exhibits or screens the photos so taken, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than five years or by a fine not exceeding 10 million won.”

Although these peeping-tom cameras were tiny, police said there are effective ways to check for them.

“Check any holes or areas where cameras could be placed in TVs, speakers and other gadgets and devices in the room,” a police officer said.

“Then, turn off all the lights in the room and turn on the flashlight function on your phone, then place this light over these holes. If there is a camera lens in there, you will be able to tell because the light will flash back at you.”

BY SOHN KOOK-HEE [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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