Kim Tae-hee Takes Action Against Cyber-Terror

Eleven Netizens have been booked without detention for spreading malicious comments about the actress Kim Tae-hee on the web.

On June 3 an article titled “Kim Tae-hee Heads to U.S. for One Month of Language Study” ran in the news section of a portal site. Surprisingly, it prompted Netizens to unleash a storm of personal attacks on the star. “She’s headed off to get an abortion,” one comment read. “She’s getting married to Goh Hyun-jeong’s ex-husband,” surmised another. Kim’s agency accused 34 individuals of defamation and reported them to the Seoul Metropolitan Police’s cyber crime unit.

Police say those who posted the slanderous comments include university students, designers and drivers. One of the accused told police they had just overheard high school girls gossiping about the issue while on the bus, and to kill time had thoughtlessly posted the message on the Net. “Netizens for the most part don’t realize that they will be punished for posting slanderous replies and do so without giving much though to it,” a police spokesman said. “But if the victim so decides, even posts made in jest can become a cause for punishment.”

So far this year, people have been punished for posting similarly negative comments about the singer Rain, Lim Su-kyung, who in her college year shocked the entire nation by entering North Korea via East Berlin to participate in Pyongyang International Festival in July 1989 as a leader of a student organization, and former Seoul mayor Lee Myung-bak. Posting and dispersing falsehoods on the Net that defame another individual can be punished by up to seven years in prison and fines of up to W50 million (US$1=W956).

Heartthrob’s Fan-Meet Spells Airline Emergency

Seoul hotels and airlines are on high alert ahead of an Asia fan meeting with Song Seung-heon, who will be discharged from the military on Nov. 15. A staggering 9,000 fans from nine Asian countries will descend on Korea to see Song after he ends his 24-month stint in the service. Upon release, Song will meet his admirers at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul on Nov. 18 and 19.

The main hotels in downtown Seoul are already fully booked. Due to a shortage of plane tickets, Song’s agency has started negotiations with domestic airlines about operating special charter flights from Japan. “The fans that are heading to Korea are very devoted and made it through 10:1 odds to get here,” Song’s agency says. “Around 3,000 fans are stomping their feet in protest after failing to get a hotel room and flight tickets.”

Those lucky enough to secure tickets are expected to visit Korea the instant he is discharged to see him as early as they can. The majority will come from Japan. The 9,000 were picked from among some 150,000 applicants: a success on an astronomical scale for the heartthrob.