Police say men installed spycams in South Korean motels; livestreamed round-the-clock footage of over 800 couples having sex

A mini-camera hidden in a wall socket. Four men installed tiny cameras hidden inside hairdryer holders, wall sockets and digital TV boxes.
A mini-camera hidden in a wall socket. Four men installed tiny cameras hidden inside hairdryer holders, wall sockets and digital TV boxes.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - More than 800 South Korean couples were live-streamed having sex in love motels, Seoul police said on Thursday (March 21) in one of the largest-scale and most intrusive examples yet of the country's spycam epidemic.

Hyper-connected South Korea has been battling the proliferation of so-called "molka", or spycam videos, which largely involve men secretly filming women in schools and toilets, among other places.

The latest case is unusual for involving couples and the live-streaming element.

According to police, four men installed tiny cameras - with lens just one millimetre wide - in 42 rooms in 30 motels, hidden inside hairdryer holders, wall sockets and digital TV boxes.

They then live-streamed the footage 24 hours a day to a subscription website with some 4,000 members and hosted on a server overseas. Some viewers also paid a 50,000 won (S$60) monthly supplement for access to "exclusive" content - edited highlights available on repeat.

More than 800 couples were shown on the site over three months, mostly having sex, police said.

"About 50 per cent of the 1,600 victims are male," an official from the National Police Agency told Agence France-Presse.

 
 

The gang earned seven million won from the scheme, he said, adding that two suspects have been arrested and two more were being investigated.

More than 5,400 people were arrested for spycam-related crimes in South Korea in 2017, but fewer than 2 per cent were jailed.

Last year, Seoul several times witnessed thousands of women protesting against spycam videos as part of the country's #MeToo movement.

In South Korea, motels are a popular destination for couples seeking privacy away from parents or other family members.

But they have also long been associated with the illicit sex business and crime.

In response to the live-streaming case, a woman from Uruguay tweeted: "Now I won't feel safe, literally anywhere" in South Korea.