How bad exactly was the star of the film “Bad Guy” is the question brewing in Korean entertainment circles, as veteran actor Cho Jae-hyun is fighting yet another accusation of a sex attack on his co-worker.
Last week, Cho broke his silence to repudiate claims by a Korean-Japanese actress that he had raped her in 2001 while shooting a TV drama.
The veteran actor said that he is guilty of adultery claiming that he had a romantic relationship with the actress outside of his marriage 16 years ago and denied the raping her.
Cho Jae-hyun (right) and Kim Ki-duk are seen at the 69th Venice International Film Festival for “Pieta” on Sep. 13, 2012. (Yonhap)
He also claimed that the actress‘ family have demanding money from him, “taking advantage of the fact that the public had lost faith in him.”
Cho has filed charges against her for blackmail.
In an interview with local media, the actress refuted Cho’s claims and that she never dated the man, nor asked for money.
“I never asked for money. Him saying that I asked him to pay my mobile phone bills or for my plane ticket is ridiculous... Cho did voluntarily tell my mother that he will ‘help your daughter grow as an actor,’ and gave money for (my) acting lessons and plastic surgery,” she was quoted as saying.
She said the encounter with Cho left her traumatized, leading to a suicide attempt.
The actress accused Cho of trying to intimidate other victims by pressing charges against her, and demanded that he issue a public apology for her.
In February, it was reported that Cho contacted the reporter that first wrote the initial story about his sexual attack, and asked who the reporter‘s source was.
The incident marks the latest in a long line of claims that Cho had sexually assaulted his fellow actors and staff members, which started as part of the world-wide #MeToo movement back in February.
The March 5 episode of MBC’s investigative journalism program “PD Notebook” revealed that Cho and his long-time partner director Kim Ki-duk had frequently abused female actors and staff members while shooting movies.
Cho issued a public apology late February saying that he “has done his colleagues wrong and is a sinner” -- although he did not specifically mentioned the details -- and has dropped out of all his projects.
Despite multiple testimonies, it is unlikely that any of his misdemeanors would be punished by law.
The maximum statute of limitation for any sexual offense in Korea is 10 years -- 15 if a rape is accompanied by severe act of violence, 25 when by murder, and 15 when accompanied by threat with lethal weapon -- making it difficult to bring to justice crimes that were committed over a decade ago.
By Yoon Min-sik