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Sex crime reports rise despite decrease in overall crimes

Sex crime reports are continuing to increase in Korea despite a decline in overall crimes.

One of the reasons is because more people are speaking up amid a changing social perception of sex crimes.

“Sex crimes are the most underreported crimes,” according to an official the National Police Agency.


“Previously, many women were reluctant to report that they were victims of sex crimes, but now more people are reporting, and this is one of the reasons of the increase in the number of cases.”

While cases of murder, robbery, burglary and fraud declined, sex crimes such as rape and molestation increased by 8.6 percent to 24,110 cases last year, according to the 2017 criminal statistics published by the NPA.

Sex crimes continued to increase from 21,055 cases in 2014 to 21,286 in 2015, and 22,200 in 2016.

Last year, molestation accounted for about three-quarters (74.4 percent) of the total number of sex crime cases, followed by rape (21.7 percent), imitative rape (2.6 percent) and others (1.3 percent).

Ninety-eight percent of the offenders in the rape and imitative rape cases were men, and 97.8 percent of the victims were women. Under South Korea’s Criminal Act, imitative rape refers to additional forms of penetrative rape.

About a third (33.8 percent) of the rapists were reportedly strangers to the victims, and some 3 in 10 were intoxicated at the time of the crime.

A total of about 1.66 million crimes were reported in Korea last year, down 10.1 percent from a year ago. The total number of crimes went up from about 1.78 million in 2014 to around 1.86 million cases in 2016, and has since continued to decrease.

By Kim So-hyun (
Korea Herald Youtube