Sexual Assault Case: 3-Year Suspended Sentence Confirmed for Korean Actor Kang Ji Hwan

The Supreme Court of South Korea upheld Suwon High Court's verdict of a 3-year suspended sentence to actor Kang Ji Hwan.

The South Korean Supreme Court has finalized the suspended sentence to actor Kang Ji Hwan. Upholding the decisions made by the previous court, the apex court has confirmed three years suspended sentence to the actor.

Cho Tae Kyu, who is popular as Kang Ji Hwan, was awarded the sentence by the Supreme Court on November 5, following the charges of sexual assault and harassment of two women. In the previous court's verdict, Kang was sentenced to two years and six months of imprisonment. But he would have to serve jail term only if he committed additional crimes during the probation period of three years. Now the sentence has been increased to three years.

Kang Ji Hwan
Actor Kang Ji Hwan. Facebook/Kang Ji Hwan

Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment Cases

The 43-year-old actor was taken into custody by the police on July 9, 2019, from his home in Gwangju. The action was taken after receiving a complaint that Kang Ji Hwan had entered a room where two female staff members were sleeping was filed by the victims. The complaint stated that Kang had sexually assaulted one of the staff and sexually harassed the other.

When he was taken into custody, Kang had denied the charges and said that he was not able to recall the incident. But eventually, he admitted to most of the charges including sexually assaulting one of the staff. But he kept on disputing parts of the evidence.

Noticing this, the Suwon High Court had said that the original decision to sentence the actor was reasonable, considering the evidence. "When considering factors including the facts of the case, the circumstances of the crime, and the victims' request for leniency, the sentence does not seem to be too harsh or too lenient," the lower court had said.

He was sentenced to three years of probation in December 2019 by the high court. The court had revealed that the victims had told that they did not want punishment for the defendant. But the court took into consideration the degree of offence and decided to go ahead with sentencing him.

"Considering the nature of sexual assault crimes, it would be difficult to see it as there being a recovery from the damage. It is not right for there to be an end just because the defendant has reached an agreement, and he should repent for the rest of his life for the healing of the suffering of the victims," the High Court had said.

Following this ruling, both prosecution and Kang Ji Hwan filed appeals. The prosecution sought three years sentencing for Kang, whereas Kang apologized for his misdeeds. "I worked hard without rest in the past to show a good image of myself, and I'm so embarrassed by my image now," Kang had said during an appeal trial back in May 14.