Man ‘Molests’ Girl at Driving Range, is Fined. Netizens Divided


Gwangju High Court, when Mr A was fined

A girl is said to have been sexually molested at a driving range by a man in his 50s. The man pleaded not guilty, but the case was overturned and he was given a fine of approximately 18,000 USD. The story became one of the most discussed on Korean portal sites, with netizens debating whether the man was really a sexual pervert.

From Naver:

Kisses and says ‘you cutie’… receives 20 million won fine

Court says it was ‘unwanted physical contact, a breach of sexual freedom’

A man in his 50s has received a fine of 20 million won (18,000 USD) for having hugged and kissed a girl he often met at a driving range while muttering the words ‘you cutie’ .

Last July, Mr A (58 years old) went to a golf range in the Jeonbuk region to practice his swing, and it was there that he met youngster B (12 years old) who was standing at the counter.

Mr A, who had already seen youngster B several times at the golf range, pecked a kiss on the back of B’s hand in an expression of familiarity while saying ‘cutie’.

A few days later, when Mr A once again met girl B at the driving range, he this time decided to hug him with his two hands.

In the end, this was reported to girl B’s family and Mr A was prosecuted for violating the child and teenager protection act.

Mr A pleaded innocent, by saying that ‘it’s just that the kid was cute, so I lightly hugged her, I had no sexual molestation intentions’.

Mr A’s lawyers also protested his innocence by adding that ‘Mr A, who has no past record of a sex offence, had no intentions to sexually molest when physically touching someone in front of on-looking employees .’

However, B’s side protested that it was obvious sexual molestation.

According to girl B’s point of view, she suffered from physical contact through coercion from a stranger, and said that even the employees didn’t like it that Mr A touched her body so.

Even at the prosecution, girl B showed anxiety by saying that ‘the man was so scary that I did not go to the driving range for about 3 or 4 days’.

The court found in B’s favour.

The Jeonju Criminal Investigation Unit of the Gwangju High Court overturned the guilty verdict at the court of appeals by saying that ‘From B’s point of view, she suffered from unwanted physical contact from an older man that was physically bigger, it felt unpleasant and she became fearful’ while adding that ‘A’s behaviour must be seen as an infringement of B’s sexual freedom’, fining him 20 million won.

Mr A had appealed and pleaded not guilty after being sentenced to 30 months in prison with four years of probation and 40 hours of lectures to remedy against sexual violence.

Comments from Naver:

junp****:

If you think she’s cute, just beat her up instead. Punch her in the face, in her ears, in her jaws. You’ll still be fined about 20 million won.. It’s better to get a crime record by hitting her instead of being accused of sexual harassment. And if someone asks you why you beat her up, then tell him you beat her cos she was too cute.. That’s still better than sexually harassing her…

efbn****:

Whether you are a kid or a grown-up, people shouldn’t touch a female stranger…

juho9430:

When women sexually harass men by touching their penises, they are released with a warning. While men were working hard to establish equal rights for both sexes, women don’t appreciate their effort and keep on bitching. Don’t click the “oppose” button, which makes me feel like shit, please provide adequate grounds for opposing the article.

turn****:

Is there a reason why a 12 year old kid should be in a golf club? Can somebody tell me?

wild****:

You see this [kind of sexual harassment] on TV shows. It’s nothing new and you guys would not criticize that but why would you care about man in his 50s who got fined 20 million won? It is an interesting and easy-to-abuse law.

98sa****:

Nowadays, even 12-year-old kids have a profound knowledge of sex, so it’s extremely normal for her to feel humiliated by that.

kwy4****

My female friend sometimes slaps me on the butt… but I say nothing about it.

mato****:

In the past, old women in my town were dying to touch my dick whenever possible lol but I think I was mentally strong enough to endure those attempts. I didn’t fall into trauma and I’m living a normal life. ha ha

remo****

Only people who would sexually harass a 20-year-old woman if she is cute, and would claim that they did not sexually harass her, are leaving comments here –;; You know what? Kids choose their clothes themselves when they are 10. They are 5th grade in elementary school when they are 12. Two years later, they go to middle school. So it’s so obvious that they’ll be humiliated by those actions unless they’re disabled

dldm****:

If that man is fined 20 million won for his actions, old women who touch young kids on the dick should get the death penalty, right? But why wouldn’t the court do that? huh?

teaz****:

Recently one woman kissed me at a drinking party. She said that was her habit when she’s drunk, and so said that is not sexual harassment. What do you think? Do you think I can win this case if I sue her? I’m so humiliated and I cannot stand this

Comments from Nate:

김수진:

Regardless of the age, touching other people’s bodies without permission itself is very unpleasant, and it can never happen in developed countries. A 20 million won verdict is not heartless, with this event as an example, people who touch others carelessly (with or without malintentions) should be more careful from now on.

김두남:

The 12-year-old child might have been scared to tell the guy and so she told the employee. Then the employee there should have appealed to the guy that the girl hates it and, if the guy continued even after that warning, then I don’t think the 20 million verdict is too much.

박준형:

It’s what it’s supposed to be but seeing that such a right thing is happening in Korea, that girl’s parents must have great powers.

정현주:

The child is right at the age of adolecence of course she wouldn’t like it…. damn~ dude wake up

김희승:

12 years old on articles usually could be 13 or 14 in Korean age and they are CUTE????????????? The word “cute” is only applicable to kids aged one digit –  it’s not even funny ke ke ke

김도연:

If the child was 4~5 years old then its reasonable but 12……………………… that bastard did it on purpose? -_-

차계선:

However cute she was you shouldn’t have hugged her if she didn’t even want it. If she was that cute then just give her plenty of pocket money or something.

신종훈:

I first thought it was about a little girl around 5 – 7 years old but 12…. that’s a sexual crime

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  • James

    First

  • Chelle

    Hugging and kissing a girl who didn’t want it… not sure why there is confusion about ‘molestation’ and why Koreabang decides to use quotation marks to call into question whether or not it is molestation… the court decided it was. Why is Koreabang taking it upon itself to give the title quotation marks, was that part of the original article? If so, why doesn’t the original Korean text pop up with quotation marks? There needs to be more awareness about language in print when discussing sexual violence. This is like when newspapers use the term “child prostitute” a child doesn’t make a choice about prostitution, so the use of that terminology adds additional trauma and judgement of the trafficked child. Likewise, why does Koreabang judge that this girl child’s experience is or is not ‘molestation’ and add to her trauma?

    • Chelle

      The court (informed by all the facts, and a legal process) decides it is molestation… not “netizens” or Koreabang. I would like to hear why Koreabang justifies the use of quotations for ‘molest’ in the title. [Wish there was an EDIT comment option so I could have just added this to my message above]

      • Beth

        I see what you mean, Chelle — the use of the quotation marks in the title of the article could be misinterpreted. But in this case they are not a statement of disagreement with the court’s verdict. koreaBANG endeavours to translate trending news topics along with netizen comments as transparently as possible. We never intend to pass judgement, we simply aim to make popular internet issues accessible to an English-speaking audience. If the quotation marks do seem ambiguous, then this is probably only one way of suggesting that netizens may have had a mixed reaction to the court’s verdict — I wouldn’t say it was koreaBANG’s own analysis of the situation. Thank you for pointing that out, though!

      • James

        The court finds him guilty, he appeals in a high court and the verdict is overturned – it’s as simple as that. You’re quite right that it isn’t up to us to question it or agree with the initial verdict. That’s why it’s in quotes. Furthermore, as Beth says, there’s a mixed reactions from netizens so the title has to reflect this too.

        • Chelle

          I am not as concerned with the criticism of the court as I am with the stigmatization of the girl defendant in this case, or the trivialization of her human rights or of sex crimes by use of quotation marks in the title.

          Beth or James, for clarification, are you part of the (volunteer?) staff of Koreabang? I am asking Koreabang to clarify two things about the title “Man ‘Molests’ Girl at Driving Range, is Fined. Netizens Divided”

          1. Is the title of this article a translation from a Korean article or their own editorial title for the story? If it is Koreabang’s own title, I urge you to reconsider it.
          2. Why did Koreabang decide on the use of quotation marks? I haven’t seen Korean material use quotation marks in this way to indicate sarcasm, so did the original article somehow indicate sarcasm? By not providing the original Korean text for the title, I am assuming it was Koreabang’s choice.

          Language matters, particularly the language used to describe molestation, sexually assault, rape, sex trafficking. Substituting the accurate words for other terms like prostitution or calling into question whether or not the defendant gave consent, or in this case by using quotation marks around the word molest, leads to trivialization of the defendant, justification of the assault, and perpetrates the trauma. It also doesn’t help other journalists or netizens learn to use correct terminology.

          Imagine this from the perspective of the girl child who is the defendant in the case, using quotation marks IS making and perpetuating a judgment of society to condemn her for saying NO.
          There are other options for the title of this piece, such as (I am not going to pretend to have great ideas for catchy titles, but rather to show a couple examples that are more objective):

          –Netizens React to Golf Course Unwanted Touch Court Case (this also accomplishes some objectivity about the court decision, but without trivializing molestation – or the fact is really clear that the girl did not want to be touched)
          –Golf Course “breach of sexual freedom” ends in 2 million won fine.
          (The phrasing of the first sentence of the translation doesn’t use quotation marks around molestation, as in the title, so why is Koreabang inconsistent “A girl is said to have been sexually molested at a driving range by a man in his 50s”?)

          In addition, I think the original article or possibly Koreabang made a mistake – is it a 2 million won fine or 20 million won fine? Within the first 3 sentences, both figures are cited. Either the original author made a mistake or Koreabang made an error in the translation/editing process that needs to be retracted. I am simply urging a bit more thoughtfulness, particularly about this article which is currently stigmatizing the girl defendant. There are a lot of fans of Koreabang, and I am among them, but today I was disappointed by this article and hoped to share my reasons.

          Correcting misuse of terms is an important action to promote more thoughtful discussion of these issues.

          For context, here is the Reuters article I am referring to, with obvious misuse of terminology to describe sex trafficking: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/25/us-usa-prostitution-child-idUSBRE85O19H20120625

          • Raphael

            Hi Chelle,

            Glad to hear you’re a fan and we appreciate your thoughtful feedback. People with blue borders around their comments are members of koreaBANG, yes.

            On your two points:

            1) All blog post titles are chosen by koreaBANG, but anything after the ‘From: Source’ tag is a translation, anything before that is our own introduction. For clarification of how we report, please refer to our FAQ or About pages.

            2) Quotation marks are used not to indicate sarcasm but to indicate that the term was subject to debate, i.e. according to this article, the first court decided the man was guilty of molestation but the appeals court overturned that verdict. The quotations from the High Court in this article from the second (and final) hearing do not mention the ‘molestation’. In this case, while we agree the girl (and/or her family) says she has been molested, we have to be careful not to take either side, especially when the man still proclaims his innocence. So, in this case, single quotation marks are used for two reasons: 1) ‘Molested’ is a quote: British English convention is to use single quotes when quoting someone (compare: ‘molested’ in our title with ‘A girl is said to have been sexually molested’ in our introduction) and 2) double quotation marks are problematic in any of our articles as they have a tendency to be mistaken for HTML code and could potentially damage the formatting of the site. Your alternative title suggestions are helpful but it’s important to note that writing headlines is somewhat of an art – for technical and journalistic reasons, they have to remain quite short. You’re also quite right to say remaining objective is important which is precisely why we stand by the editorial decision to include quotation marks.

            3) There was a typo in the translated article’s title – it should indeed be 20 million, thank you for pointing that out.

          • Chelle

            Raphael, the reply button isn’t appearing below your comment, so I am replying here.

            Thank you for the clarification about the post. This punctuation is also sometimes used to indicate irony or sarcasm, as I have seen sarcasm in a single quote mark on other sites (maybe for the same web formatting reason you gave), I was not sure what meaning was attached to it in this case. This confused me about the intent of the title… good thing I am not an English teacher *^.^* In any case, thank you for clarifying the intent. I am happy to hear that it is for the purpose of quoting, but wonder if the word molest is the only quoted word in that title. Beth and James seemed to give it more meaning than just a quote, saying that it was intended to reflect the “mixed reactions” of netizens (which concerns me, because it seems to put Koreabang in the position of Korean netizens in criticizing the girls’ accusation, and not in an objectively translating/reporting position).

            According to the British grammar convention, would it still be a clear and objective title if all of this phrase appeared in quotation as follows: Man ‘Molests Girl at Driving Range, is Fined.’ Netizens Divided (since the information that it happened at a driving range and that there was a fine is also quoted from the source material, and it also emphasizes that not only the word molest but the whole phrase is quoted material). I am not sure how Korean source material indicates sarcasm so it is sometimes hard to understand the intent of the posts

            Keep up the great site, hopefully comments and questioning are taken as a sign of enthusiasm, not only for this work but also for foreigners studying about Korea.

          • James

            Chelle,

            To be clear – what we’re saying is that, not only is this an issue of grammar convention, it also emphasises the point that the term/concept ‘molested’ is being contended by both parties and, in addition, debated by netizens. That’s why it wouldn’t be appropriate to not include quotes. Nor would it work to write ‘Man “Molests Girl at Driving Range, is Fined.” Netizens Divided’ as you suggest since ‘Molests Girl at Driving Range, is Fined’ is not a direct quote. Rather, it is a summary (or, as they call it in the business, a headline!).

            We welcome questions so keep them coming if they’re useful.

    • Chelle

      Well, I guess in summation, although I like this site, I think the translated comments already sufficiently speak to individual attitudes and division of opinions on unwanted touching, and am critical of this headline and the intentions as explained above. I don’t appreciate when media call terms associated with sexual violence into question because it stigmatizes the victim and normalizes the behavior. This isn’t in keeping with objectivity, ethics or responsibility in sharing information. The clear signal ought to be not to touch people that don’t want that touch, and not to use language that stigmatizes girls who are fighting for her right to be free of sexual contact and/or (street/public/private/workplace/school, etc.) harassment.

  • Ruaraidh

    Interesting how many of the posters made sex the main issue and ignored the enormous age factor. The actions of the man would probably be less distasteful if his age was contemporaneous with the girl. Though I’d say kissing someone’s hand in general, is at best incredibly pompous/pretentious and at worst shuddersome.

    • Ruaraidh

      Just to be clear, I use the word sex to refer to male vs female, rather than the act of sex.

    • ric

      i disagree i think kissing someone’s hand is cute. i don’t see how that can be pompous or shuddersome. so I think you are stupid for thinking so. good day ruaraidh

      • Ruaraidh

        It’s an archaic court fashion, from a culture that is gone. Putting your coat in a muddy puddle for a woman to step over is pretty much on par with it. I don’t know where you’re from, though I’d guess you’re between 17-24 and living in the USA, but where I’ve been no one has ever proffered their hand to be kissed. It’s used by people who want to appear dashing, in a world where dash no longer exists, and was probably never more than a facade.

        But what you do, or don’t do, in this regard has no bearing on me, so by all means go on kissing hands.

        • Chelle

          People 17-24 in the USA do not proffer their hands to be kissed as a social custom, not sure why you are labeling age/nation in that comment. I agree with the general sentiment of your first comment post about pretention.

          • Ruaraidh

            It was not my intention catch the whole 17-24 years USA age group. Rather, I imagined that ric was probably in that age range, likes anime and owns a fedora. I don’t know the name for that sort of demographic, sort of like nerds who try to be edgy.

            The only other demographic I can think of that would probably think hand-kissing was charming would be perma-virgin ‘nice-guys’, and they can come in pretty much any age.

        • Cuddycream

          Hand-kissing is very cheesy but I’ve done it one occasion (when being introduced to a woman of the same age as me, not as an unwanted assault on a stranger) and it’s been well received. (I’m talking about maybe three times in the last ten years.) There’s a time and place for everything.

          * I don’t own a fedora but I have watched the occasional anime film

  • Yu Bumsuk

    Did the money go to the courts or to the girl’s family? This really sounds like the type of thing that would be better dealt with just a warning at the police station.

    My friend worked with a male elementary school teacher who routinely patted students, both boys and girls, on the bum. I also recall seeing a male teacher do this to a girl about 12 years old in a movie. In such a culture is kissing a 12-year-old’s hand that much of a violation? Inappropriate IMO, definitely, but criminal?

  • somesojuslammer

    30 months for a HUG and a kiss on the hand? Oh dear lord. Korea is fucking crazy these days.

    • Chelle

      hmm… Just 3 months ago a new law for the protection of children came into enforcement, it is much stricter than earlier laws. After years of cases with light punishments against teachers, taxi drivers, gang rape, sex traffickers, etc. who abused children there was social pressure for a stronger law. This is one of the cases that has come up in the three months since that new law came into enforcement.

      • somesojuslammer

        He’s being made an example of. My point about women stands though, they get lenient sentences everywhere. If he was female there would be no jail time.

        • Guest

          If “he” was female it probably wouldn’t have happened in the first place. Are you really arguing that female-to-male sexual assault is as much of a thing as the reverse? Because if so, as one dude to another, give me a ****in break.

  • Chucky3176

    12 years old in Korean age, means 11 or 10 Western age. Unless the old man is a pedophile, I just don’t see how they could be so harsh on this man. Even gang rapes by classmates and sexual abuses by school teachers get far less than this. It seems to me, there’s so much things that are extreme in Korea, with no middle ground.

    • somesojuslammer

      If it was a woman she’d of gotten a pat on the back and a telling off at most. Women have advantages in legal systems now. Feminism has turned into impeding the rights of men.

      • Chelle

        This is about a child’s rights to be free of unwanted touching, it isn’t about “women’s advantages in the legal system.” This was a 12 year old girl child.

        The case was decided under a new law for CHILDREN’s protection, not women.

        If you look into detail at the Teen/Child Protection Act, although it was established in 2011 and had 2 years before enforcement (perhaps to share info about it) it has only been enforced for 3 months. So, this is an early case under the enforcement of a new law. In a social context where there has been recent outrage about the ridiculously lenient fines and punishments in earlier cases.

      • sojuslammerslammer

        This is Koreabang, not /r/mensrights. Go back to Reddit, please.

        • somesojuslammer

          Butthurt woman detected! Are you mad I brought out a gobal problem?

          • Sunshinefiasco

            It’s not a global problem. It’s men who can’t hack the world blaming women for it because they only have overwhelming implicit advantages rather than explicit ones. Talk about butthurt… the men’s rights “movement” defines butthurt.

  • Jang

    Who is responsible for this 12 year old girl standing at the counter and has been there before? Does this girl have parents or a golf coach? Are 12 year old girls allowed to work at a driving range or is she a golfer with a golf coach who happens to be pimping her out?

    • Cuddycream

      Also, if she was really that upset, would she have gone back “after 3 or 4 days”? I smell a compensation claim. This needed the girl’s father to say “don’t touch my child, ever” – not criminal charges and financial penalties.

      Definitely another example of Korea swinging from one extreme to another. Rape a 9 year old when you’re drunk? Comparative slap on the wrist. Hug a 12 year old and kiss her hand? Huge fine and criminal record.

      • Chelle

        So being upset for 3-4 days isn’t important? Or it means she was asking for repeat harassment?

        As a (girl) child, maybe your parents once invested in something, a club, a dance class, etc. Maybe you can imagine that you wanted to learn something, you were supposed to go there, and then someone made it uncomfortable, over time it became more and more unsafe, but you didn’t feel the right to tell anyone because plenty of people in society are quick to jump to the conclusion that it must have been your fault, somehow. Perhaps you could only fake being too tired/sick/busy to go for 3-4 days at a time before your parents made you feel guilty about their wasted investment in that club/activity. Maybe as a (girl) child you were stuck between upsetting your parents for wasting their investment, or upsetting them because you think you did something shameful to invite this harassment. MANY children state EXACTLY that as the reason that they did not come forward and tell anyone that their coach/teacher/pastor/uncle was abusing them.

        Why would a 12 year old have the intent or cunning to plan out a compensation scheme? If the family had wanted compensation, this would have been settled outside of court, not in the courts.

        Besides, no means no, and even a girl child should have the right to a safe environment for extra-curricular activities. There shouldn’t be a division of some spaces that are safe, and some where it is the victim’s “fault” for being there.

  • Dick Harrison

    “When women sexually harass men by touching their penises,”

    “old women in my town were dying to touch my dick whenever possible”

    “old women who touch young kids on the dick should get the death penalty,”

    ?

  • lonetrey

    I agree, the guy was mad creepy around this young girl. She’s not even a teenager and he’s being a bit over-familiar with her.

    However, we shouldn’t fine people for being creepy! This reminds me of a scene from the animated movie “Hoodwinked!”

    Nicky Flippers: We don’t arrest people for being creepy.
    Tommy: [into walkie-talkie] Yeah, Bruce, you know that guy we got in the tank?
    Bruce: [over walkie-talkie] Ah, the creepy one?
    Tommy: Yeah, better let him go.

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  • Peter Pottinger

    Wtf, I don’t know how it works over there in China, but here in Canada you DO NOT EVER touch somebody else’s kid unless that kid is unconscious and not breathing or in some other dire circumstance.

    Its a lesson that’s learned the hard way by some people.

    Personally I don’t touch people I’m not familiar with, period, end of story.

  • Guy Forget

    Video or it didn’t happen! This man had no history of criminal offences or any record of any sort, I highly doubt if he wanted to molest a girl that he’d do it in public in front of golf course attendants and only for a short few seconds. Use common sense people. He was most likely just an over generous old-style traditional korean father/grandpa who was just doing what was pretty common in the days. It’s more likely the girl and her family being smart and trying to get money out of this. Like I said, video or it didn’t happen. There has to be a cctv footage of this as cctv is pretty much everywhere now in korea.

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