South Korean Court Clears Actress Sung Hyun Ah of Prostitution Allegations

John Kim, Feb. 19, 2016, 7:30 a.m.


The Supreme Court on Thursday found actress Sung Hyun-ah not guilty of prostitution. Sung, a former Miss Korea, was charged in December 2013 with receiving W50 million in exchange for sex with a wealthy businessman on three occasions in 2010 (US$1=W1,230).  She was found guilty by a lower court and sentenced to a W2 million fine.



Sung admitted taking the money but denied that it was payment for sex. The Supreme Court accepted that Sung could have met the businessman for a "sincere" relationship and ordered a retrial. 

Prostitution involves having sex with unspecified individuals for money, but the Supreme Court ruled that Sung had met the businessman through an acquaintance and even considered marrying him. It noted that they met several times without having sex and that she ended the relationship after realizing that he was not interested in marriage. 

The court therefore ruled that there exists reasonable doubt that the relationship was purely based on sex for money. But controversy continues, "The ruling says that taking money for sex can't be construed as prostitution as long as there was an intent to continue the relationship," one lawyer said. "But I can't help wondering how taking tens of millions of won over a short period and having sex multiple times over that period is in any way an ordinary relationship between a man and a woman." 

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