The Daily Telegraph
S Korea ban on covert filming ‘could protect abusive bosses’
SOUTH KOREA is considering banning covert filming and recording, prompting fears such a move could protect abusive bosses who beat and abuse their staff.
A law proposed by the ruling People Power Party, could impose jail sentences of up to 10 years on anyone found to have recorded conversations without consent. The law’s supporters say that it upholds privacy and the constitutional “right to pursue happiness”.
But it has created a backlash among those who argue such recordings can be a valuable way of battling unfair workplace practices and have been used effectively as evidence in court battles.
In recent years, clips of conversations revealing workplace bullying have provoked public outrage and prompted calls for an end to the practice known as gapjil – Korean for powerful people who lord over their subordinates.
The nation has been shaken by allegations of elite families who dominate the upper echelons of politics and business abusing their power.
In 2020, Lee Myung-hee, the matriarch of the Korean Air dynasty, was handed a suspended sentence for beating and insulting nine workers 22 times between 2011 and 2018.
The accusations against her included throwing a pair of pruning shears at a security guard and kicking and injuring a chauffeur. The abuses came to light early in 2018 when footage emerged of her cursing and pushing construction workers at a hotel.
The family gained earlier infamy in a 2014 “nut rage” incident when Ms Lee’s daughter, Cho Hyun-ah, ordered a Korean Air plane to return to the gate at John F Kennedy airport in New York because her macadamia nuts had been served in an unopened package.
In another case that went viral, Yang Jin-ho, chairman of Korea Future Technology, was jailed in 2020 for crimes including assault after video emerged of him physically abusing an employee and making others shoot a chicken with a bow and arrow before decapitating it.
On newswire Yonhap, a nationwide poll by Realmeter revealed most people were against the ban, with 64.1 per cent saying that recordings could be used to protect people from injustice and report irregularities in whistleblowing cases.