Seoul - checking toilet for hidden camera

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AFP

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A member of the Seoul squad that checks ladies’s bathrooms for hidden cameras

Pornography exists the world over, however do males go to better lengths in Korea than elsewhere to take secret pictures of ladies? The BBC’s Seoul correspondent, Stephen Evans, investigates.

The opposite day I simply typed into the search field the phrase for a really obscure time period in music. I am studying the guitar and I needed to know what acciaccatura* meant.

What it does not imply is what popped up, specifically a really hard-core Korean pornography web site – which is odd in a rustic the place pornography is unlawful.

It illustrates, to my thoughts, some hypocrisy about intercourse. Pornography, like prostitution, is unlawful, however obtainable. The authorities consistently shut down web sites just for comparable ones to pop up, typically with obscure names for these within the know.

It’s a fixed cat-and-mouse sport. In April, the police in Seoul succeeded in shutting down a server in Holland that supplied porn to Korean customers. It had switched there from the USA, having been shut down there too.

Media captionWomen in Seoul speak about their anxieties and their anger over secret pictures

Unlawful, porn could also be, however extremely wanted it is also (although perhaps this double-standard of sturdy disapproval plus sturdy demand isn’t unusual world wide).

Certainly, there’s an trade in pornography offered for the net by hidden cameras in girls’ bathrooms, unimaginable although which will appear and as unattractive as which will sound.

The authorities do attempt to fight it. There’s an official squad in Seoul which searches bathrooms for hidden cameras. Within the southern metropolis of Busan over the summer time, police have been advised to look out for males with cameras performing suspiciously. Native media reported that officers used metallic detectors in ladies’s altering rooms to seek out hidden cameras.



Producers co-operate by putting in an audible shutter-click on telephone cameras to discourage the taking of images surreptitiously up skirts.

So critical is that this drawback that the federal government printed posters of a girl on an escalator with a person behind her taking a low picture. The caption stated: “Please cowl your skirt.”

This generated a row. Ladies stated the poster positioned the blame on them. It implied that if solely they did not put on quick skirts, this would not occur.

The Ministry of Administration conceded the purpose, saying it had solely supposed “to make individuals conscious that it’s unlawful to take up-skirt photos, however the accompanying textual content was unwisely chosen”. Accordingly, the wording was modified so the caption learn bluntly: “No photos allowed”.

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The warning on the escalator

There was, by the way, a mini-storm when males advised newspapers in regards to the humiliation of getting ladies in entrance of them on the escalator cowl their legs. They complained that they have been being handled like perverts after they have been the truth is harmless.

The Ministry of Gender Equality, as its title implies, promotes equality – although final 12 months discovered itself in battle with the Ministry of Labour, when the latter recommended that job seekers, presumably feminine ones, would possibly take into account cosmetic surgery to enhance their possibilities. The Ministry of Labour back-tracked furiously, saying an intern had written the recommendation.

Issues are altering, notably as extra ladies, from the president down, have careers. Current figures indicated that the proportion of ladies of their twenties who work is now barely increased than the proportion of males of their twenties. However whereas ladies more and more anticipate equality, outdated male attitudes linger, simply as they do in different nations.

And Korean entrepreneurs do suppose intercourse sells. Some members of Korean lady bands, for instance, are solely of their early teenagers however they exude sexuality of their garments and the gestures on stage. It is referred to as the “Lolita idea” within the South Korean media.

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AFP

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Ok-pop lady group Laboum carry out for cheering marines

Individuals who complain are accused of prudery. Males are advised that they should be perverted to have observed.

I went to a tech present right here the opposite day, stuffed with gizmos and geeks. And, I feel, the odd perv (very odd, he appeared to me). I watched a sleazy wanting man, who frankly wanted an excellent wash, going spherical together with his digital camera taking photos of the leggy ladies in tight skirts and blouses whom corporations right here really feel they want simply with a purpose to promote a gadget.

This specific seedy man was so intrusive – getting the powerless lady to show her profile for the digital camera – that I felt I should have intervened with a minimum of a phrase of disapproval, as a result of the sufferer was an worker who would possibly worry dropping her job if she offended the general public. Ultimately, I stated nothing. Disgrace on me.

Prosperity is altering expectations, I feel, however some males nonetheless anticipate ladies to be adornments, and resent their aspirations.

Households share small flats, all sleeping in the identical room with kids, so sexual frustration isn’t unknown – it is partly why there are so-called Love Lodges the place even married hire rooms.

After I first flew on Korean Air, I used to be amazed to listen to a pre-flight announcement warning that sexual harassment of cabin attendants was opposite to aviation regulation. It was an try to guard the glamorous feminine employees from the octopus arms of businessmen.

In the event that they need to be advised, there’s, I feel, some option to go.

* An acciaccatura is a grace be aware carried out as shortly as doable earlier than an important be aware of a melody

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