Voyeurs with Hidden Cameras on the Rise in South Korea

luvsmiling, Sept. 1, 2015, 7:14 a.m.

As hidden camera crimes including the recent ‘water park hidden camera’ case become known to the public, people are feeling uneasy. According to the police, the number of crimes related to hidden cameras is increasing every year, from 1,134 cases in 2010 to 6,623 cases last year. The number of cases increased sixfold during the past four years, meaning that an average of 18 hidden camera cases are occurring every day.

With the increased usage of various electronic devices, the number of crimes that involves them is also increasing. People tend to think that hidden camera crimes are committed by creepy voyeurs with night vision goggles and binoculars, but those who were actually caught seemed surprisingly in good shape. Police officers, civil service workers and even teachers and doctors were perpetrators of hidden camera crimes.

Even worse, hidden camera crimes committed by under-aged adolescents are happening one after another. According to a survey conducted in 2012 by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, 40 percent of 12,251 teenagers answered that they had seen X-rated material, and among them, 14 percent answered that they had the urge to imitate what they saw. Also, 1.9 percent answered that they had recorded a video with a hidden camera after being exposed to adult content. Though agreeing that the phenomenon is severe, opinions on why hidden cameras are prevalent differ between experts.

Professor Lee Soo-jeong from the Department of Criminal Psychology at Gyeonggi University says that hidden cameras are a type of voyeurism, and voyeurism is a part of sexual perversion, making it difficult to see it as a normal sexual behavior. According to Professor Lee, people are giving in to their desires through peeping instead of releasing sexual urges the healthy way, because they are tainted with provocative and perverted ways. On the other hand, Professor Hwan Sang-min from Yonsei University’s psychology department says that hidden camera crimes should not be categorized as voyeurism and seen as a psychological deviation of an independent. He says that the invasion of privacy is a bigger issue than sexual perversion, and concentrating on the victim whose privacy was invaded will solve the problem.

In the meantime, law enforcement officials are planning to ban cameras made for hidden camera purposes. “We will discuss with legal authorities to ban the production and possession of cameras that are not in the shape of a camera, or mutated.”

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