South Korea's Supreme Court upheld the sentences and conviction of two men who tried to blackmail Korean boy band JYJ member Yoochun in connection with falsely accusing him of sexual assault.
The case stemmed when a woman accused Yoochun in 2016 of raping her in a bar's bathroom where she worked. The woman's boyfriend, surnamed Lee, tried to extort 500 million won (US$442,830) and he involved her cousin named Hwang, who is a member of a gang. The extortion attempt failed.
Last January, a court sentenced Lee to one year and six months in prison and Hwang to two years in jail for attempted blackmail. The woman was also convicted and sentenced to one year and eight months in prison.
In the ruling, the judge said, "The bathroom of the adult entertainment facility in which [A] claimed she was sexually assaulted has a lock on the inside. Considering that fact, it is difficult to understand why [A] did not leave the bathroom or yell for help."
The verdict also said that "even after [A] left the bathroom, she stayed with Park Yoochun's friends to hang out, and after Park Yoochun's party left, she was seen laughing and happily talking to a waiter. These facts confirm suspicions that [A's] claims of sexual assault were false."
According to the judge, the incident maligned Yoochun as he was portrayed as a sex offender that threatened his finances, public image and future as a celebrity, and that the suspects deserved "severe punishment."
After their conviction, the two men filed appeals with the Supreme Court but the woman did not and is now serving in jail for false accusation and attempted blackmail. The Supreme Court rejected their appeals.
The accusations were hurled against Yoochun as he was serving in the Korean military. He was discharged from his military service on August 25.
He greeted fans in a video message, saying, "it's nice to see you again. To start off, I've completed my two years of mandatory military service. I gave a short greeting to reporters earlier but I wanted to greet everyone in person so I am here."