Meet South Korea's hidden camera-hunting squad

A hidden camera-hunting squad has been introduced by the city government in South Korea's capital, Seoul, to combat unsolicited videos of women filmed in public and shared online.
A hidden camera-hunting squad has been introduced by the city government in South Korea's capital, Seoul, to combat unsolicited videos of women filmed in public and shared online.PHOTO: AFP
A hand-held device detector used by a hidden camera-hunting squad in Seoul.
A hand-held device detector used by a hidden camera-hunting squad in Seoul.PHOTO: AFP
A hidden camera-hunting squad has been introduced by the city government in South Korea's capital, Seoul, to combat unsolicited videos of women filmed in public and shared online
A hidden camera-hunting squad has been introduced by the city government in South Korea's capital, Seoul, to combat unsolicited videos of women filmed in public and shared onlinePHOTO: AFP
A hidden camera-hunting squad has been introduced by the city government in South Korea's capital, Seoul, to combat unsolicited videos of women filmed in public and shared online
A hidden camera-hunting squad has been introduced by the city government in South Korea's capital, Seoul, to combat unsolicited videos of women filmed in public and shared onlinePHOTO: AFP

SEOUL - A hidden camera-hunting squad has been introduced by the city government in South Korea's capital, Seoul, to combat unsolicited videos of women filmed in public and shared online, reported the BBC.

These secretly filmed videos and pictures, also known as Molka in Korea , are usually taken by individuals with cameras placed on shoes or clothing and aimed up women's skirts on public transport or escalators, or by hidden cameras installed in toilets or changing rooms.

The images and clips are then uploaded on private online groups or on specific porn sites.

Police statistics show that such crimes in Seoul have risen from 990 in 2012, to 3,638 in 2015.

"Almost all victims are women in spy cam crimes, and for the victims there is emotional damage," Ms Hee Nam Myung told the BBC.

The 47-year-old works for one of the 25 hidden camera hunting teams on the lookout for secret cameras across Seoul.

Between August and September, the squad - which was launcher earlier this year - scanned more than 9,500 locations across the city but no spy cams were uncovered. Updated figures after September were not immediately available.

"We have detectors for digital devices and scan for spy cams in public and private access building restrooms, swimming facilities, and changing rooms," Ms Hee says.

The teams also distribute information leaflets and Ms Hee believes their campaign is raising awareness about Molka.

"I was sceptical on how much change we would see by working as a part of the hidden camera-hunting squad. But, when I see the reaction from people, I think it is worthwhile," she says.

Mr Koo Se Woong of Korea Expose magazine says that it is not unusual to see women walking up staircases holding their handbags behind them to block clandestine devices.

Once a Molka case is uncovered, a report is lodged with the police. If found guilty, offenders can face up to five years in prison or a maximum fine of 10 million South Korean won (about S$12,077).

But Mr Koo believes that culprits behind secretly filmed videos and pictures won't stop until the government issues tougher penalties.

A 29-year-old woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told BBC that every time she and her friends have to use a public toilet, they feel a sense of unease due to Molka.

She says that when victims do go to the police for help, they are told there is nothing that can be done due to the difficulty in removing photos and videos from the Internet.