Seoul deploys 8,000 workers to inspect public toilets amid ‘spycam’ epidemic
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Seoul deploys 8,000 workers to inspect public toilets amid ‘spycam’ epidemic

SOUTH Korea’s capital is mobilising 8,000 workers to carry out daily inspections on all public restrooms for hidden cameras that are used to spy on women.

The Seoul city government announced the ambitious plan on Sunday in wake of growing public anger toward sexual violence and crimes related to voyeurism, Yonhap reported.

Prior to the plan, the city employed only 50 workers to inspect 20,554 public restrooms within city limits.

The city government said the limited manpower means that each restroom is only inspected once a month or at longer intervals.

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With 8,000 workers who are already tasked with upkeep of the restrooms, the city government hopes to be able to check the restrooms on a daily basis.

Each day, one government employee would be inspecting 2.5 public restrooms, the government said.

Last year, authorities recorded 6,420 hidden camera crimes, a three-fold increase from 2,400 cases in 2012, the Yonhap report said.


(File) A woman uses her smartphone at Myeong-dong night market in Seoul, South Korea on February 23, 2018. Source: Shutterstock

According to the Guardian, the country is in the middle of a battle with the “spy-cam porn” epidemic as police have said there were more than 26,000 victims between 2012 and 2016. Real figures, however, are believed to be much higher as many cases go unreported.

In an attempt to prevent unauthorised recordings, many phones sold in the country are required to make an audible sound when taking photos.

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As an alternative, offenders use an array of other devices such as pens, watches and shoes that come with spycams.

Apart from footage in public toilets, the epidemic also involves revenge porn, much of which is recorded without the consent of the women.

Last month, a record number of 70,000 women attended a monthly protest calling for the government to do more to curb the epidemic.

Critics have also questioned the justice system following the conviction of two female perpetrators, one of which was jailed for sharing a nude photo of a male colleague.

The critics pointed out that most offenders, who were men, were typically fined but women who made the same violation were given tougher sentences.