Actress Yoon Ji-oh faces lawsuit by donors

SEOUL • Actress Yoon Ji-oh said she feared for her safety after she relentlessly campaigned for the culprits in the 2009 suicide of 29-year-old actress Jang Ja-yeon to be brought to justice.

Yoon, 31, claimed that Jang had listed down the names of people in the media and business circles who sexually abused her.

While the case was reopened last year, reports indicated that the authorities had not been able to dig up new incriminating evidence.

But Yoon, who once slammed the police for not responding quickly to her distress call, has now landed in trouble herself.

According to The Korea Herald, a law firm stated on Wednesday that the actress is facing a lawsuit from people who donated money to help pay for her protection, after she posted an appeal in March.

The amount raised from about 370 people was about 10 million won (S$11,570).

This is not the first time that Yoon, who flew to Canada on April 24 and has stayed there since, has drawn controversy over the fund raising.

On April 26, she was sued by Kim Soo-min, a writer who helped with the publication of Yoon's memoir tracking the 10 years since Jang's death, for misleading the public.

Kim's lawyer, in a statement posted online, said: "It's true that she witnessed... a journalist sexually harassing Jang, but this is the only incident she saw in person.

"She insists she saw the Jang list, which is not true.

"She says she swears she is telling the truth. She even claims her act could cost her life, but she is risking it to bring about justice.

"And she takes donations from people."

The lawyer also urged the authorities then not to allow Yoon to go to Canada.

"If she is innocent, I think she will cooperate with investigators. However, if she leaves South Korea, it will remain a cold case."

Yoon has pleaded for understanding over her stay in Canada.

Posting from that country, she wrote: "I've had to take care of not only myself, but also those around me. As more people around me became affected because of me, it became hard to manage and I felt scared and sorry.

"It doesn't matter if you criticise, rebuke or dislike me, but please don't bother, threaten or denounce my family and friends."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'Actress Yoon Ji-oh faces lawsuit by donors'. Print Edition | Subscribe