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South Korean actor Jo Min-ki accused of sexual assault found dead amid #MeToo wave

Jo Min-ki,52, was accused of sexually molesting at least eight victims and found dead at his home in Seoul, Yonhap news agency cited police as saying, adding suicide was suspected.

world Updated: Mar 09, 2018 15:13 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, Seoul
Jo Min-ki,Jo Min-ki suicide,#MeToo movement
Demonstrators supporting the MeToo movement in black stage a rally to mark the International Women's Day in Seoul, South Korea on March 8.(AP Photo)

A South Korean actor accused of sexual assault was found dead Friday, reports said, as a wave of #MeToo accusations sweeps the country’s still male-dominated society.

Jo Min-ki, who had been accused of sexually molesting at least eight victims, was found dead at his home in Seoul, Yonhap news agency cited police as saying, adding suicide was suspected.

Most of his victims were drama students at a provincial university where he taught, it said, adding the 52-year-old had been forced out of his professorship over the scandal, leaving his career in tatters.

His roles were mainly in television series, but he also appeared in a number of films.

The #MeToo movement has gradually gained ground in South Korea, which remains socially conservative and patriarchal in many respects despite its economic and technological advances.

Allegations of abuse have been made against prominent men in fields ranging from politics to the arts.

Earlier this week, provincial governor and former presidential contender Ahn Hee-jung resigned after an aide accused him of multiple rapes.

The last straw came when Ahn called her into his office on the night of February 25 and apologised for having hurt her, talking about the country’s #MeToo movement, she told a television interviewer.

“And then he raped me again,” she said, holding back tears.

Ahn presented himself to prosecutors on Friday for questioning, apologising and saying he would cooperate with the investigation.

It was a stunning fall -- Ahn was the governor of South Chungcheong province and came second to current President Moon Jae-in in the contest for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination last year.

A governorship is seen as a springboard to a presidential bid and he had been tipped as a front-runner among liberal hopefuls to succeed Moon, who can only serve one term.

“First of all, I offer my words of apology to the people and the provincial residents,” Ahn said outside the prosecutors’ office, as a barrage of flashbulbs went off.

“I also feel deeply sorry for my wife and children,” he added, although he did not apologise to his accuser.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 15:13 IST