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Duo nabbed for spy cams live-streaming from S Korean motel rooms

Seoul

SOUTH Korean police have arrested two men for using illegal spy cameras at motels to record - and live-stream - videos of about 1,600 guests, raking in roughly seven million won (S$8,358) in the past three months, police said on Wednesday.

Illicit filming has surged with growing use of mobile devices; South Korea's pop music industry has reeled from a scandal involving singer and television celebrity Jung Joon-young, who has been accused of sharing videos he took secretly during sex.

In the latest case, police said the men, with two others, posed as motel guests to install the cameras in 42 rooms in 30 places across the country. Footage from the cameras, hidden in television boxes, sockets and hair dryer holders, was broadcast live on a website. The police said: "It was the first case we caught where videos were broadcast live online."

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More than 6,600 cases of illicit recording were reported to police last year, or about a fifth (20 per cent) of all sexual abuse cases investigated, up from 3.6 per cent in 2008, prosecutors have said.

Last year, tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Seoul to protest against the practice and other sexual violence, and demanded stricter punishment. The law was amended last November to toughen penalties, not only for illegal filming, but also distributing images without consent; jail terms now stand at up to five years and fines, up to 30 million won.

The K-pop scandal has also involved Lee Seung-hyun (stage name Seungri), a member of boy band Big Bang. The 28-year-old is suspected of paying for prostitutes for foreign businessmen to drum up investment in his business.

He has denied wrongdoing.

On Thursday, a Seoul court reviewed an arrest warrant for Jung. In a statement, he admitted to all the charges against him. REUTERS