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2 arrested for falsely outing sex workers on Instagram

Two women were arrested by police Tuesday for falsely exposing ordinary women and men as sex workers on social media.

The Seoul Suseo police said that two women who were behind Instagram accounts Gangnam Patch and Hannam Patch had been arrested for online defamation. 

The now-defunct account of Gangnam Patch. (Instagram capture)
The now-defunct account of Gangnam Patch. (Instagram capture)

The 24-year-old Gangnam Patch operator, surnamed Jeong, and the 28-year-old Hannam Patch operator surnamed Yang knew each other through online correspondence but were not personally acquainted.

The Gangnam Patch account had gathered some 100 photos of luxuriously clad women since early May and claimed they gave sexual services in return for expensive gifts.

The wild reports quickly caught fire as some of the claims included celebrities and sports players.

Hannam Patch, with “han” being short for “Hanguk,” or Korea, and “nam” being short for “namja,” man, echoed Gangnam Patch except that it posted about men.

The “patch” in the account names is meant to echo Dispatch, a news site in Korea famous for celebrity exposes.

The victims’ real names and addresses were hunted down and included in the postings.

When Instagram moved to shut down the account, Gangnam Patch came up with 30 other similar but different account names and continued its activities.

Victims, who said they were not associated with escort work, complained of psychological stress that rendered daily life impossible.

Despite pleas and threats, Jeong and Yang refused to take down the photos, and told the victims to prove them wrong or brace for more exposure.

The police said they were able to track down Jeong and Yang with help of Instagram.

In the investigation that followed, Jeong reportedly told the police that she began the social media account out of jealousy for a corporate heiress that she often saw from afar in a nightclub in Gangnam.

Yang reportedly began to post malicious contents targeting men following a botched plastic surgery performed by a male surgeon. She then started to receive various anonymous reports and spread them over social media.

Another 28-year-old, surnamed Kim, was also arrested for taking Instagram photos to another online platform and attempting to extort 2 million won ($1800) from a victim.



By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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