TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Police in South Korea are warning people, especially women, to be careful when using public toilets in the country because of a recent surge in reported spy cameras found in public restrooms.
According to Korean lawmaker Park Kyung-mee there were 6,465 reported cases of hidden cameras reported to police in the country during 2017, which is average of 17.7 reports filed every day last year.
Reports made last year represent an increase of 1,280 over the reports made in 2016.
Many public areas and private companies that provide restrooms to customers are now training staff to check for hidden cameras on a daily basis, reports LTN.
According to the Korean Herald, the trend is known as “molka” or “secret shot” in South Korea and in the age of conveniently acquired remote digital cameras, the trend is growing at an alarming rate.
There is also a remarkably low conviction rate for the crime. According to the report, in 2016, although 4,499 suspects were identified by police reports, only 1,720 or the alleged perpetrators actually went to trial.
Of those that saw a trial, the report indicates that only 10.5 percent of perpetrators in 2016 cases that happened between January and June received prison sentences, while 41.1 percent of those cases received probation or suspended sentences.
It is presumed the other 48 percent of January-July cases that went to court were either acquitted, or saw a mistrial.
Data for 2017 cases has yet to be released.
Rep. Park was quoted by the Korea Herald:
“We now live in an era where the very basic of human rights are being violated by the ‘molka’ crimes that has secretly penetrated our daily lives. As (the secretly captured contents) can lead to irreversible damages once they are spread and circulated via the internet and social media, (the criminals) should be heavily punished.”
In Taiwan in mid-August, a woman using the restroom at a Starbucks in Taipei’s Neihu District discovered a secret camera inside a toilet stall inside a gender-neutral bathroom.
Police later arrested a 45 year old former technology company exec, who is also reportedly an overseas Chinese engineer from South Korea for the crime.