|The Seoul Central District Court gave suspended prison terms to two taxi drivers for blackmailing homosexual passengers, Tuesday. Korea Times file|
By Kim Hyun-bin
The Seoul Central District Court sentenced a taxi driver to 16 months imprisonment suspended for two years, Tuesday, for blackmailing homosexual passengers after inducing them to touch his genitals and threatening to report them to police for sexual harassment.
Another cabbie, who aided the driver, was given a one year prison term suspended for two years.
According to the court, the two taxi drivers blackmailed four homosexual passengers in Seoul into paying them 5.3 million won ($4,492) in January last year.
Picking up a drunken passenger in a district having several gay clubs, the first cabbie asked if the passenger was gay and got him to touch his penis. He then called the police to report that he had been sexually molested.
While the passenger was undergoing police questioning, the driver called his accomplice, who came and encouraged the passenger to settle the issue be paying money.
The two taxi drivers used a similar method against three more homosexuals, two of whom did not comply.
"The two accused searched for victims and induced sexual acts. The victims suffered psychological damage, but they neither made efforts to make up for it, nor reflected on their behavior," the court said. "However, we are suspending the terms because the victims were not indicted for sexual harassment and two of their attempts at blackmail failed."
The first driver was also charged with theft as he took a passenger's bag, containing 140,000 Hong Kong dollars, that was left behind in his taxi.