Man brought in for unsolicited photo of stranger

Posted on : 2007-01-12 15:09 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Used cell phone camera to snap picture of bus passenger

With most Korean cell phones bearing a camera, one can easily take photos while in public. However, legal experts warn camera users to be careful. Just pushing a button to capture a shot, even if done absentminedly, can put you in trouble.

Last week, an intoxicated bus passenger was taken into police custody after taking a picture of a fellow passenger without her permission.

The man, identified as Jo, took a photo with his cell phone camera of a 50-year-old female sitting across him, identified as Choi. Choi then snatched the phone and stopped the bus. She reported the incident to the police and Jo was taken to a police station in Yongsan.

Jo claimed that he just had taken a picture of the upper half of Choi’s body, and had not focused on any specific section of her anatomy. The police investigated Jo for violating a law on sexual violence, but ended up sending the case to the prosecution for lack of evidence. The prosecution found that there were no photos of Choi stored in Jo’s camera, and also could not prove that Jo’s photos had focused on any particular body parts. Jo was cleared of the charges.

However, an official of the National Police Agency warned, "People who take photos of other persons without their permission can be brought to court. It is the same case for those who spread photos [of other people] through the Internet, even if they have taken the pictures with permission. People should not take photos of other persons in public places," advised the official.

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