South Korean director Kim Ki-duk fined $6,000 for physical assault

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean prosecutors have rejected complaints by famed film director Kim Ki-duk of criminal defamation against an actress who accused him of physical and sexual assault, and journalists who reported other allegations.

Kim, 58, won the Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Film Festival for Pieta and Berlin's 2004 Silver Bear for Best Director.

An actress in 2017 accused him of sexual and physical abuse, saying he forced her into unscripted sexual scenes and slapped her repeatedly while shooting his 2013 award-winning film Moebius, before replacing her with another actress.

Prosecutors dropped the sex abuse charge citing lack of evidence but fined Kim five million won (S$6,000) for physical assault.

Several other actresses came forward afterwards, anonymously accusing Kim of raping or sexually abusing them in an investigative television programme, PD Notebook, that aired last year as the #MeToo campaign against violence against women took off in South Korea.

Kim denied the accusations and asked prosecutors to investigate the PD Notebook journalists for defamation, and the Moebius actress for defamation and false accusation.

Seoul prosecutors told AFP that they had dismissed all of Kim's complaints, saying the actress' sex abuse accusation was dropped only because they were unable to find enough evidence.

According to reports, the prosecutors believed the interviews with other actresses aired on PD Notebook were credible.

The Moebius actress, who hailed the decision, said: "Kim tried to silence me - and perhaps other victims who wanted to come forward - through counter-lawsuits of false accusation and defamation, but we will never be silenced again."

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