In hidden corners across South Korea, tiny cameras are surreptitiously recording thousands of women when they are at their most vulnerable. In Seoul, the capital, the proliferation of such hidden cameras — and the images they record, which often end up on pornographic websites — has often been described by reporters as an epidemic. The city announced a crackdown on Sunday, increasing the number of municipal employees assigned to search public bathrooms for hidden cameras to 8, in October from the 50 currently at work. The city has promised to inspect every one of its 20, public restrooms daily, an enormous undertaking that underscores the scope of the problem. More than 30, cases of surreptitious filming have been reported nationally since , according to police statistics. Beginning next month, workers will check more than 20, public restrooms, in subways, parks, community centers, public gyms and underground commercial arcades. Many women avoid going to public toilets alone, especially at night. Choi said it was more important that the authorities find and punish the perpetrators than simply remove the cameras. Currently, most toilets are inspected only once a month, and government inspectors have not discovered a single recording device in the past two years.
'A part of daily life': South Korea confronts its voyeurism epidemic
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South Korea is in the middle of a battle against videos secretly filmed in places such as toilet stalls and changing rooms. Police have said more than 26, victims between and have been identified, but many cases go unreported. Mobile phones sold in the country are required to make a loud audible sound when taking photos, an attempt to discourage surreptitious recording. Offenders can also turn to an array of seemingly everyday items — including pens, watches and shoes — equipped with spycams. At present, the Seoul government checks each toilet about once a month, and employs only 50 inspectors to monitor more than 20, public bathrooms, according to news agency Yonhap. The new plan will call for the 8, city workers who maintain and clean the bathrooms to conduct daily checks. Government inspectors have failed to find any cameras in the past two years. But experts and activists have criticised sweeps of public bathrooms, saying they were little more than a show and most cameras were installed in homes and offices. They have also chided the government for failing to adequately punish perpetrators who share secretly filmed footage. There have also been charges of sexism in the justice system, with two recent high-profiles cases targeting female perpetrators.
The South Korean capital, Seoul, has pledged to carry out daily checks in all public toilets for hidden cameras. Secret cameras in toilets and changing rooms are a serious problem in South Korea - with more than 6, cases of "spy cam porn" reported last year. Earlier this year, tens of thousands of women protested against hidden cameras, carrying signs with messages like "my life is not your porn". Activists say women live in constant fear of being photographed or filmed without their knowledge. Seoul's public toilets are currently only inspected for hidden cameras about once a month, Yonhap news agency reports. However, staff who maintain the toilets will now also be required to check them for spy cameras daily. Law enforcement officials have previously told the BBC that it is difficult to catch perpetrators - especially as they can install cameras, and take them down again within 15 minutes. Yonhap says that the 50 government employees tasked specifically with finding hidden cameras have not discovered any for two years. South Korea's spy cam porn epidemic. MeToo movement takes hold in South Korea.