Netizens and pop critics alike are pointing out the severity of stalking in Korea and the importance of law against stalking crimes.
TWICE Nayeon is once again suffering from a stalking crime. These days, people are becoming more aware of stalking due to the “Sindang Station Murder Case”. The punishment is weak compared to the level of damage.
Nowadays, a German man has been drawing attention for being a prominent stalker of Nayeon. He laid low for a while, but recently re-entered Korea, and on September 21st, uploaded a video titled “Happy Birthday to Nayeon” on his YouTube channel. The man is completely delusional and believes that he is dating Nayeon, saying that he is coming to Korea to give her a birthday present.
Regarding this alarming situation, Nayeon’s agency, JYP Entertainment, said, “We are discussing countermeasures with our legal team”, and emphasized that Nayeon is currently under police protection.
In fact, this man’s stalking crime has persisted since 2019. In January 2020, he boarded the same plane as TWICE and threatened the members as well as attempted to approach them. Regardless of the police protection, there are voices that are concerned about Nayeon’s mental state.
Stalking is a crime. Even if it’s to show love for a celebrity, such actions won’t be tolerated. However, while the crime severely affected its victims, the punishment for stalkers is at best, flimsy. Although the law regarding the stalking crime was strengthened in October last year, it is pointed out that the effect is low. Under the current law, a fine ranging from 100,000 won to three years in prison, or a fine not exceeding 30 million won can be applied.
After the law came into force, 218 cases of stalking were confirmed. Among them, 68 cases (31.2%) were dismissed, 75 cases (34.4%) received probation, and 44 cases were fined (20.2%). Only 31 cases (14.2%) were sentenced to imprisonment, resulting in only 15 out of 100 stalking suspects receiving actual punishment.
Stalking is the act of ignoring the opinions of others and continuously harassing them. There is also the possibility that the crime of stalking can lead to a violent crime. In fact, statistics show that 96 out of 131 stalking crimes, or 73%, led to additional violent crimes such as trespassing, confinement, assault, rape, and murder.
Recently, the danger of stalking crime has been highlighted more and more with the “Sindang Station Murder Case”. The need to supplement the system is growing so that the same victims do not occur. The “Sindang Station Murder Case” is a case in which Mr. Jeon, who worked as a station attendant, murdered his co-worker. In particular, the crime occurred while Jeon was being trialed for stalking, and the fact that he approached the victim without any sanctions was pointed out as a blind spot in the law.
Celebrities are particularly exposed to stalking crimes. As long as you have a job that is shown to others, you cannot guarantee a safe zone. Accidents happen quickly. Therefore, prevention is important, not countermeasures.
On the other hand, the size of the fandom is growing these days. In the past, celebrity privacy was not protected. It was tolerated in the misunderstanding of some fans. Many celebrities suffered under the name of ‘right to know’ towards stars.
On the other hand, these days, the size of the fandom is growing. A stepping stone to a more mature culture is being laid. “I know that there is a growing movement to protect the privacy of the celebrities we love,” said pop culture critic Jeong Deok Hyeon.
The seriousness of the crime of stalking should be recognized. From the victim’s point of view, the awareness of respecting the rights of victims should be expanded. Everyone should receive protection without blind spots within the bounds of the law. I just hope that stalking doesn’t result in another victim.