[Newsmaker] ‘I just want to live an ordinary life’: Yang Ye-won in court

By Catherine Chung
  • Published : Oct 11, 2018 - 15:29
  • Updated : Oct 11, 2018 - 15:42

In a rare case where trial proceedings are opened to the public, shining a spotlight on the treatment of vulnerable victims, YouTuber Yang Ye-won on Wednesday attended the trial of a 45-year-old photographer surnamed Choi who has been indicted on charges of taking explicit photos of Yang and leaking them to the public. It was his second court date.

At the previous session, held Sept. 5, Yang’s attorney had asked the Seoul Western District Court for Wednesday’s hearing to be made public, citing Choi’s lack of remorse for his alleged crimes. 

Mapo police officers arrest photographer Choi on allegations that he leaked explicit photos of Yang. (Yonhap)

In May, Yang accused the photographer of locking her in a studio and forcing her to pose for sexually oriented pictures in crotchless lingerie before eventually posting the pictures online. She also alleged that some 20 photographers had sexually harassed and assaulted her during the photo session, with some having touched her genitals without her consent.

Yang later came under fire when the photographer revealed months of text messages showing her asking for work. She had initially claimed to have been extorted. 

After a thorough digital forensic analysis of Choi’s equipment at the studio, authorities believe the defendant was the first person to leak the photos. 
Yang Ye-won (C) arrives at the Seoul Western District Court on Wednesday to attend Choi’s trial. (Yonhap)

On the second day of Choi’s trial, Yang said she had been an aspiring actress at the time -- three years ago at the age of 22 -- and still could not seem to let go of that dream. She added, “I regret now having turned in my resume to the wrong place at the (wrong) time,” referring to the studio where the alleged sex offenses took place.

Asked why she had not reported the incident three years ago, Yang told the court that she had wanted to prevent her family from finding about the explicit photos and worried the photos would be made public.

“I have given up my life as a woman at the age of 25. I have been called a murderer, liar, gold-digger and whore. All I want to do is lead a simple, quiet life,” she said at the end of the day.

The next trial date is set for Oct. 24.

By Catherine Chung (