Prosecutors resume investigation into South Korea actress’ suicide

South Korean actress Jang Ja-yeon died in 2009 and left a note that stated she had been the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of powerful men in government and media. File Photo by Yonhap

Dec. 5 (UPI) — South Korea prosecutors have summoned one of the defendants in the 2009 suicide case of Jang Ja-yeon, a rising South Korean actress who left behind a seven-page letter naming powerful and influential men who sexually assaulted her as she sought to advance her career in the country’s cutthroat entertainment industry.

Bang Yong-hoon, the chief executive of Koreana Hotel in Seoul, was confirmed to have met with Jang in 2008 at an evening gathering, but he was not investigated after her suicide.

Local television network MBC reported Wednesday that Bang is the younger brother of Bang Sang-hoon, the chief executive of Chosun Ilbo, one of South Korea’s most conservative newspapers.

The younger Bang, who was cross-examined for more than three hours on Wednesday, met with Jang in 2008 along with Kwon Jae-in, a former minister of justice who was with the Prosecutors’ Office at the time.

The Korea Herald reported Tuesday that investigators are looking into whether Kwon exercised his power to intervene in the initial investigation in Jang’s case.

In her 2009 note, Jang said she was forced to “entertain” powerful men, including “chief executive Bang of Chosun Ilbo.”

Since then, sources in the entertainment industry have said the label refers not to Bang Sang-hoon, but to his younger brother.

Jang’s note stated she was forced to have sex with at least 30 powerful men in government, the media and entertainment. One of the people she was obligated to meet may have been the younger Bang.

South Korean prosecutors are also seeking to cross-examine Lim Woo-jae, a former executive at Samsung Electronics, but he declined to respond to their requests, according to MBC.


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