Late K-pop idol Goo Hara’s ex-boyfriend sent to jail for assault, blackmail; brother disappointed over verdict

Published July 3, 2020, 9:43 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

Goo Hara (Instagram) 

The former boyfriend of the late K-pop idol Goo Hara was sent to jail after a Seoul appeals court found him guilty of assaulting and blackmailing her with a sex video, and reversed an earlier ruling. 

On July 2, an appeals court under the Seoul Central District Court sentenced 29-year-old Choi Jong-bum to one year in prison. However, he was acquitted on the charge of taking the sex video without Goo Hara’s consent. 

Last August, the court found him guilty of assault and blackmail in connection with a sex video he took with her and sentenced him to one year and six months in prison suspended for three years. He appealed the decision and the court issued its verdict on July 2. 

“In fact, the defendant took advantage of the victim’s social status as a celebrity and the severity that the sex video would have had on the victim, and used it against her to threaten her, worsening his crimes,” the appeals court said in its verdict against him, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily. 

Goo Hara, a former member of K-pop girl group KARA, took her own life and was found dead on Nov. 24, 2019 at her home in Cheongdam, Gangnam in Seoul. She was 28. 

In September 2018, Goo Hara and  Choi Jong-bum had a fight and the latter filed a complaint of assault. Hara filed counter charges of assault and said he threatened to leak a sex video. 

Regarding the one-year jail sentence, Goo Hara’s brother Goo Ho-in said, “I feel somewhat comforted as the injustice inflicted on my family can be resolved even a little bit,” My Daily reported. 

But he said that “it was unfair to our family” that Choi Jong-bum was not found guilty of illegally filming the video. Goo Hara previously said the video was taken without her consent, her brother added. 

“The actual sentence enforcement rate in dating violence is very low, and the punishment isn’t severe when the judgment is executed. I truly hope everyone will change their awareness of dating violence and we will be able to live in a society where victims are protected and shielded,” Goo Ho-in said. 

He added, “Even if he is sentenced to prison, perhaps my sister will still feel dissatisfied. I will do everything you intended to do but unable to do on your behalf, so I wish you could take a rest there without minding anything. I want to say that I love you.”