Decade on, actress' death haunts

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Decade on, actress' death haunts

In a memoir, fellow actress laments justice is missing in sex scandal probe

By Kang Hyun-kyung

There's a victim but no one was found to have committed the crime.

Probe results of sex scandals involving prominent politicians, business moguls or other influential people have repeatedly reached that "same old, ridiculous" finding and there has been no exception.

In a memoir titled "The 13th Testimony: 10 Years After March 9, 2009," author, model and actress Yoon Ji-oh confronted the absence of offenders in high-profile sex scandals.

The author put together shards of her memories about the late actress Jang Ja-yeon, who committed suicide on March 9, 2009, and her bond with the fellow actress. As a witness who saw in person how former journalist C sexually assaulted Jang in August 2008, Yoon testified what she saw in the investigations conducted by the police and then the prosecution. However her testimony ― lasting thirteen times - did not result in justice. The journalist and other influential figures managed to avoid punishment.

"Investigations of sex scandals involving high-profile figures always ended up with unconvincing results and investigators don't point to offenders. They echo the same old story that there's insufficient evidence to prove that those accused of committing a crime actually did it," she lamented in the book. "The offenders were able to avoid punishment and this is why there are no offenders, even though there are victims."

The author identified individuals she mentioned in the book by their initials to avoid possible defamation or violation of privacy. She lamented justice is lost in some sex scandals.

Actress Jang Ja-yeon committed suicide on March 9, 2009. / Korea Times file

"The 13th Testimony" was published to mark the 10th year anniversary of the death of fellow actress Jang Ja-yeon. Jang, who debuted in the KBS hit drama "Boys Over Flowers," committed suicide at her home in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province.

Days after her death, Jang's alleged four-page note that listed some 40 highly influential people she was forced to meet and provide sexual services to was circulated online. Business moguls, the publishers of daily newspapers, and key figures in show business were included in the note which was later called the "Jang Ja-yeon list."

The police embarked on the investigation to find out if the list had something to do with the death of the actress.

Unveiling the investigation results in July 2009, the police said Jang chose to cut her life short as she felt pressure regarding her worsening relationship with her boss K, the head of her management agency, after she refused his repeated requests of luring and providing sexual services to K's target clients, such as producers, directors and business moguls.

According to the police, Jang's boss K had arranged for the actress to engage in alcohol-involved business dinners with 40 men on the list to build his network and give sexual services in exchange for actress Jang's career in show business. Jang listed her "clients," upon a request from H, the head of a rival management agency, who tried to turn the tide in favor of his artists who were involved in legal suits against K.

The police said Jang felt increasingly pressured over the list because if found, she feared her boss K would retaliate and ruin her career.

The police investigated 20 people and seven of them were punished for minor offenses. No business moguls or influential people were brought to justice.

Show business in Korea is notorious for its high rate of suicide. Before and after Jang, many celebrities have ended their lives. Between 2005 and 2013, over 30 stars committed suicide for various reasons. News about their death shocked the nation. But many of them were forgotten as time went by.

But Jang's death has continued to resurface even after investigations wrapped up.

In the probes of high-profile sex scandals, justice is nowhere to be seen and this caused Jang's death to haunt Korean society over the past decade. Last year, her death was brought to the presidential petition. Over 200,000 people signed the petition, urging the presidential office to reinvestigate those who were on Jang's list.

Yoon, who was close to Jang as they were in the same entertainment agency, the now defunct "The Content Entertainment", said she's still in disbelief at the investigation results.

She detailed the sexual assault case that occurred at a birthday party she attended in August 2008. She saw former journalist C sexually assault Jang in August 2008 at K's birthday party on the third floor of the agency's building.

"There were five of us there ― K, Jang and I and two people H and C. Ja-yeon wore a white mini skirt which was very short. It was the same one that she wore a year later at the Baeksang Awards. In the middle of chatting and drinking, she suddenly climbed onto the table and danced there. I was surprised at what I saw there… As her dance ended, C suddenly pulled her from the table and had her on his thighs and groped her, putting his hands inside her dress. She resisted."

In "The 13th Testimony," Yoon claims like other high-profile sex scandals, justice is missing in the investigation of the death of Jang.


In a memoir, fellow actress laments justice is missing in sex scandal probe

By Kang Hyun-kyung

There's a victim but no one was found to have committed the crime.

Probe results of sex scandals involving prominent politicians, business moguls or other influential people have repeatedly reached that "same old, ridiculous" finding and there has been no exception.

In a memoir titled "The 13th Testimony: 10 Years After March 9, 2009," author, model and actress Yoon Ji-oh confronted the absence of offenders in high-profile sex scandals.

The author put together shards of her memories about the late actress Jang Ja-yeon, who committed suicide on March 9, 2009, and her bond with the fellow actress. As a witness who saw in person how former journalist C sexually assaulted Jang in August 2008, Yoon testified what she saw in the investigations conducted by the police and then the prosecution. However her testimony ― lasting thirteen times - did not result in justice. The journalist and other influential figures managed to avoid punishment.

"Investigations of sex scandals involving high-profile figures always ended up with unconvincing results and investigators don't point to offenders. They echo the same old story that there's insufficient evidence to prove that those accused of committing a crime actually did it," she lamented in the book. "The offenders were able to avoid punishment and this is why there are no offenders, even though there are victims."

The author identified individuals she mentioned in the book by their initials to avoid possible defamation or violation of privacy. She lamented justice is lost in some sex scandals.

Actress Jang Ja-yeon committed suicide on March 9, 2009. / Korea Times file

"The 13th Testimony" was published to mark the 10th year anniversary of the death of fellow actress Jang Ja-yeon. Jang, who debuted in the KBS hit drama "Boys Over Flowers," committed suicide at her home in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province.

Days after her death, Jang's alleged four-page note that listed some 40 highly influential people she was forced to meet and provide sexual services to was circulated online. Business moguls, the publishers of daily newspapers, and key figures in show business were included in the note which was later called the "Jang Ja-yeon list."

The police embarked on the investigation to find out if the list had something to do with the death of the actress.

Unveiling the investigation results in July 2009, the police said Jang chose to cut her life short as she felt pressure regarding her worsening relationship with her boss K, the head of her management agency, after she refused his repeated requests of luring and providing sexual services to K's target clients, such as producers, directors and business moguls.

According to the police, Jang's boss K had arranged for the actress to engage in alcohol-involved business dinners with 40 men on the list to build his network and give sexual services in exchange for actress Jang's career in show business. Jang listed her "clients," upon a request from H, the head of a rival management agency, who tried to turn the tide in favor of his artists who were involved in legal suits against K.

The police said Jang felt increasingly pressured over the list because if found, she feared her boss K would retaliate and ruin her career.

The police investigated 20 people and seven of them were punished for minor offenses. No business moguls or influential people were brought to justice.

Show business in Korea is notorious for its high rate of suicide. Before and after Jang, many celebrities have ended their lives. Between 2005 and 2013, over 30 stars committed suicide for various reasons. News about their death shocked the nation. But many of them were forgotten as time went by.

But Jang's death has continued to resurface even after investigations wrapped up.

In the probes of high-profile sex scandals, justice is nowhere to be seen and this caused Jang's death to haunt Korean society over the past decade. Last year, her death was brought to the presidential petition. Over 200,000 people signed the petition, urging the presidential office to reinvestigate those who were on Jang's list.

Yoon, who was close to Jang as they were in the same entertainment agency, the now defunct "The Content Entertainment", said she's still in disbelief at the investigation results.

She detailed the sexual assault case that occurred at a birthday party she attended in August 2008. She saw former journalist C sexually assault Jang in August 2008 at K's birthday party on the third floor of the agency's building.

"There were five of us there ― K, Jang and I and two people H and C. Ja-yeon wore a white mini skirt which was very short. It was the same one that she wore a year later at the Baeksang Awards. In the middle of chatting and drinking, she suddenly climbed onto the table and danced there. I was surprised at what I saw there… As her dance ended, C suddenly pulled her from the table and had her on his thighs and groped her, putting his hands inside her dress. She resisted."

In "The 13th Testimony," Yoon claims like other high-profile sex scandals, justice is missing in the investigation of the death of Jang.


Kang Hyun-kyung hkang@koreatimes.co.kr


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