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Ex-chairman of Hosigi chicken franchise claims ‘no abuse of power’ in sexual harassment case

Choi Ho-sig, an ex-chairman of Hosigi Doomari Chicken who is on trial for alleged sexual harassment, claimed that “there had been physical contact, but no use of superiority over his employee to engage in such contact” during his trial Tuesday.

The victim, who was an employee of the chicken franchise at the time, said she was sexually harassed by 64-year-old Choi at a high-end hotel’s Japanese restaurant in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, on June 3 last year. 

Choi Ho-sig (Yonhap)
Choi Ho-sig (Yonhap)

Security footage that showed the victim running out of the hotel and trying to hail a cab went viral online, igniting public outrage against Choi.

The woman told police in an official statement that she was able to “escape from Choi with the help of three women at the hotel’s lobby.”

However, the victim reportedly withdrew her criminal suit against Choi two days after the incident out of fear of negative consequences. Since the alleged crime was of a sexual nature, prosecutors said they would “exercise their powers of criminal procedure regardless of the victim’s opinion, and further investigate Choi.”

Choi’s lawyers said in a statement that they would do everything they can to prove that Choi did not abuse his power to sexually harass the former employee.

Established in 1999, Hosigi Doomari Chicken had been popular, but the chain’s image has suffered due to the incident.

The court set the next trial for Choi’s case at March 26.

By Catherine Chung (