The Miryang Gang Rape: A Horrible Crime and Poor Handling That Is Reappearing in Korea

Miryang Gang Rape

Recently, the identities of individuals alleged to have been involved in the 2004 Miryang Gang Rape case were exposed by an anonymous YouTuber.

Current news reports provide details of the Miryang Gang Rape, including the alleged 44 perpetrators who initially walked free. However, the case had numerous other aspects, including the supposed true number of culprits involved in the Miryang Gang Rape.

In 2003, a 14-year-old middle school student named Choi mistakenly dialed the wrong number, connecting her with one of the alleged Miryang Gang Rape assailants, Kim, a high school student. They formed a friendship, leading Choi to visit Kim in Miryang, a city in Gyeongsangnam-do Province, after an invitation. Within a year, it was claimed that Choi was sexually assaulted multiple times by groups of 3 to 24 high school boys linked to the Miryang Gang Rape case, with details alleging that female students associated with the boys even recorded some of the assaults.

Ultimately, it was discovered that the high school students had allegedly been assaulting and coercing five different girls, including Choi’s sister and cousin, in relation to the Miryang Gang Rape. The alleged perpetrators of the Miryang Gang Rape reportedly told Choi that photographs of her assault would be spread around her school if she did not comply.

Miryang Gang Rape

The assault case gained more attention after details emerged about how the police handled the investigation. Police allegedly asked the victims if they had done anything to “entice” the alleged assault assailants, shaming them.

My hometown is Miryang, and you girls have brought shame upon it.

 – Police officer to the victims

During the probe, Choi was reportedly brought before ten of the alleged assault perpetrators and instructed to identify them, without her identity being concealed. She was also allegedly harassed by the families of the supposed Miryang Gang Rape assailants as she entered the police station for this identification process.

Protests were held in support of the victims, demanding reinvestigations due to the police’s conduct in the Miryang Gang Rape case. Eventually, 10 of the students who directly participated in the Miryang Gang Rape were prosecuted and sentenced to probation, 20 were sent to juvenile detention centers, and 14 settled out of court.

In 2007, the government was ordered to pay ₩70.0 million KRW (approximately $51,100 USD) in damages to Choi, her sister, and her mother due to the police’s behavior while investigating the Miryang Gang Rape.

For Choi, the assault case continued to impact her life, resulting in multiple suicide attempts and difficulties in finding a school to accept her. On one occasion, one of the mothers of the alleged assaulter perpetrators followed her to school to request that her son’s juvenile detention term be shortened. Recently, the case has resurfaced as the identities of the alleged perpetrators in the assua have begun to be revealed, resulting in consequences for each of them.

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