Read the full story and explainer here.
Kim Hyun Joong’s alleged girlfriend has pressed criminal charges against the Korean singer for repeated instances of assault and battery spanning approximately two months, local media reported today.
The girlfriend, identified only as “A”, had been dating Joong for around two years, with their relationship beginning in 2012. According to an acquaintance, “A” alleged that after several “problems with women” arose, she was repeatedly and severely assaulted by Joong in his apartment between the months of May and July of this year.
In May, “A” reportedly sustained severe bruising to the face, arms, chest, hips, and various other areas of her body, injuries which were diagnosed as requiring around two weeks of treatment. In July, the abuse only worsened, with “A” suffering a fractured rib amid the violence. A six-week recovery was required.
According to Soompi, “A” went through a repeated “cycle of assault, apology and forgiveness…however, the situation kept getting worse, and she [“A”] eventually decided to press criminal charges.”
After pressing charges at the Songpa police station in southeastern Seoul, “A” has completed her initial statement and has submitted a handful of documents to law enforcement, including medical reports and a doctor’s note detailing her injuries and declarations of relationship status. While Joong is yet to be questioned, police have confirmed he will be summoned shortly as “thorough” investigation is launched.
Domestic and relationship violence in South Korea is a growing problem. The country saw a 30% surge in domestic violence cases in 2013 compared to 8,762 cases in 2012, according to government figures. More than 15% of married women in South Korea are victimized by domestic violence, a ratio that is around five times higher than other nations such as Britain or Japan. Additionally, the second-offense has quadrupled over the past few years to 32.2% in 2012, according to ANN, suggesting that efforts to prevent family violence have been inadequate.
Domestic violence has finally begun catching renewed attention of the Korean government, with the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Cho Yoon-sun noting in 2013 that domestic violence was no longer a matter confined to households, adding that it had become a serious social problem.
Police have slowly gained new powers through significant legal changes enacted by lawmakers in 2011, with law enforcement now able to respond to reports of abuse by having the ability to enter homes without permission. (This was later followed by a revision allowing police to impose on-the-spot restraining orders, according to the Korean Herald.)
The Ministry says it has provided domestic violence awareness training to more than 2,000 officers as of 2011. The legislature has also ratified a slew of laws related to Domestic violence, including the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Crimes of Domestic Violence of 2011 and Act of the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of Victims of 2010, which declares domestic violence a crime and levies harsh punishments to abusers. Based on the 1997 law, the government provides shelters and counseling centers for domestic violence victims.
Joong’s agency KeyEast said they were investigating the situation and refused to confirm the reports’ authenticity.
Update 1: KeyEast Calls Assault Reports ‘Exaggerated’
23 August 2014 at 11:10 am EST: Kim Hyun Joong’s agency, KeyEast, released a statement defending the singer after his girlfriend, identified only as “A”, reportedly pressed criminal charges against him for repeated instances of assault and battery spanning approximately two months. The agency also called media reports “exaggerated” and pledged that Joong would fully co-operate with the ongoing police investigation.
KeyEast’s statement provides us with some key facts, including confirmation that Joong does have a girlfriend and that a physical fight did occur. However, the claims put forward stand in stark contrast with initial reports, including timeframe, the cause of the injuries, and the number of physical encounters. As our editor Eric Tang noted, the agency took an interesting step in claiming that “A’s” fractured rib was a result of “joking around”, and that the injury was not identified until a day or more later.
The statement can be read below:
“Firstly, we would like to apologize for releasing this statement later than expected as there were many details regarding the situation that we had to clarify.More than anything, we want to first apologize for worrying those that care for Kim Hyun Joong.
“Upon confirmation, it is true that the two [Kim Hyun Joong and girlfriend ‘A’] have known each other for two years. However, they have only been romantically involved since about a couple of months ago. In that period of time, there was a severe verbal argument, during which emotions ran high and the fight turned physical. It was not however, the case of two months of repeated assault as was reported by the media.
“The aforementioned physical encounter was a single occurrence, and the fractured rib [mentioned in previous reports] happened while joking around with each other; the injury was not even noticed the next day, while she [‘A’] was spending time with her friends.
“It is regrettable that only the plaintiff’s side was represented in the media, falsely reported and exaggerated. We [KeyEast and Kim Hyun Joong] will work to reveal the truth through accurate investigation, and will fully cooperate with any further police investigations.
“Kim Hyun Joong will be carrying on with his current schedule, as they were previously scheduled activities. Following, in addition to working to smoothly see out the current situation, Kim Hyun Joong will be taking some time off for the time being.”