[Opinion] Two Sides of the Same Coin

The current investigation involving Burning Sun, Seungri, Jung Joon-young and their associates are one side of a coin. On the other side being Jang Ja-yeon’s life, death, and legacy.

Jung Joon-young (left), Jang Ja-yeon, Lee Seung-hyun – OSEN News database

Police have been having a busy 2019. For the past few weeks, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has taken on multiple cases revolving around former BIGBANG member Lee Seung-hyun, popularly known as Seungri, and singer and TV celebrity Jung Joon-young that involves sex trafficking, creating and sharing illegal sexual footage, using and distributing drugs, rape, and collusion with corrupt police.

As the investigation of the two moves forward, several other K-pop idols including Highlight’s Yong Jun-hyung and F.T. Island’s Choi Jong-hoon become implicated in these allegations, their cases have started to expose the seedy underbelly of the K-pop world.

Past reports exposing unfair “slave” contracts, abusive and intense rehearsal and training sessions, and agencies’ tendency to overwork their talent for profit have painted the mechanisms fueling the K-pop machine in a negative light. However, adding in the factor that the stars themselves can be equally unethical adds another profound layer of grime to the picture. It illustrates that the issues exposed in these investigations and the actions that these stars engaged in are a result of larger societal factors.

These factors include but are not limited what Crystal Tai, a writer for South China Morning Post argues is “South Korea’s culture of toxic masculinity” and what Haeryun Kang, a freelance journalist and editor, says it is the “pervasive power inequality between men and women in countless, unseen sectors of Korean society.”

Indeed it is clear that Lee, Jung, and other men who were empowered in their masculinity, fame, and wealth, took advantage of several women wrongfully and illegally for their benefit, entertainment, and pleasure. While Lee and Jung’s victims have not publically identified themselves out of fear, they do have a voice in the form of the late Jang Ja-yeon and her advocate Yoon Ji-oh.

Like these unknown women, the talented, pretty, and well-liked Jang Ja-yeon was victimized by men in positions of considerable power including show producers, journalists, media and entertainment executives at the behest of her agent Kim Sung-hoon who pimped her out for preferential treatment.

Pallbearers carry a picture of Jang Ja-yeon during her funeral procession – OSEN News database

Jang revealed this information in a seven-page letter with a list of 31 names she left behind after taking her life just five months after her debut movie role as Sunny in 2009’s film Boys Over Flowers. Notably, while her case was hastily closed in trials following her death, it was reopened in the midst of the 2018 #MeToo movement after prosecutors discovered ack of conduct on behalf of the investigators at the time.

Currently, her case is ongoing with details unfolding alongside Lee Seung-hyun’s and Jung Joon-young’s, acting as a ying to their yang. The interesting juxtaposition of these investigations plays like two sides of the same coin.

On one side are the salacious details of powerful men uninterested in the rule of law as they drugged, raped, filmed, and trafficked women for their own means. On the other, is the heartbreaking tale of a woman who was on the receiving end of their dehumanization and is an example of the real-life consequence to their actions.

MBC “News Desk” anchor interviews Yoon Ji-oh – MBC

Unfortunately, I may have painted Jang as too much of victim. Jang’s side of the coin shouldn’t be viewed as a sad and powerless story, but also as a woman who sought change. Her friend and advocate Yoon Ji-oh who witnessed some of the abuse Jang endured said that she doesn’t believe (link in Korean) that the seven-page letter Jang wrote was a suicide note. Instead, Jang intended those pages of papers were to act as legal documents to enact justice.

But how that coin will land? Will it heads where justice is served a movement to rejects the actions of these men and to expose and punish those like them? Or will it be tails, where only the surface is cleaned but the scum beneath remains?

 

 

 

By O.C

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Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates

[RECAP] ‘Running Man’ Compete in the Unboxing Race

On the 443 episode of SBS’s ‘Running Man’, everyone participated in a race to gather enough funds for the unboxing auction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaivORRzWZo

The newest episode of SBS’s ‘Running Man’ had all the members in a frenzy to gather interesting objects to fund for the ‘unboxing auction’. Members were told to bring an object that you don’t use but can’t bear to throw away.

Recap

Opening scene starts off with the dongsengs making fun of Yoo Jae Suk and Ji Suk Jin for wearing similar jackets.

As each member shared what object they brought for the ‘unboxing race’, members were teased or hurt by some of the items. Interesting segments were Yang Se Chan’s protein powder, Ji Suk Jin’s clothes from the 80s and Kim Jong Kook’s limited edition CD.

Yang Se Chan brought an unopened container of protein powder he had bought at a whim for dieting. When asked if the protein powder was strawberry flavor, Yang Se Chan confirmed yes. Hilariously Haha read the label and pointed out it was actually chocolate flavor. Further telling Yang Se Chan that just because the container is pink doesn’t mean the protein powder is going to be strawberry flavor to everyone’s amusement.

Ji Suk Jin complained of his wife’s tendency to throw things away while introducing his item. Kim Jong Kook commented Ji Suk Jin should be thankful his wife hadn’t thrown him away or else. Ji Suk Jin shared he brought a meaningful item that was when he was a fashionista decades ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqOZ6GAkAkg

Kim Jong Kook’s item was Haha’s reggae limited CD box that Haha had gifted a long time ago. Haha expressed his disappointment and pointed out that CD box wasn’t even commercially sold but given to fans during one of his concerts. Kim Jong Kook stated he cherished the CD box but couldn’t really use it. Haha expressed he’s thankful Kim Jong Kook kept it until now instead of trying to sell it on a second hand website. Kim Jong Kook comments he couldn’t sell it since Haha wrote a message to Kim Jong Kook on the CD box.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGhOMfbKya4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOIRkbV9QjQ

Once everyone had presented their item, members were divided into teams to try to exchange the items for something more expensive to gather enough finding for their mission. Hence, the members were divided using the PPL (product placement) Samsung’s new phone that now has the fingerprint reader on the front of the screen + wireless earphones chargeable from the phone.

Race to gather items

Each team tries their best to trade their items with various celebrities. Hilariously Ji Suk Jin’s clothes were traded with SF9 members. The clothes that had looked “questionable” became so fashionable when worn by the idols. SF9 members Chani and Rowoon looked ready for the stage in Ji Suk Jin’s clothes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_Qmhh-74iY

Lee Kwang Soo’s figure cut out was valued at 10 cents, 2 dollars and later 50 dollars in Hwahakdong. Yoo Jae Suk was amazed at Lee Kwang Soo’s item being valued at 50 dollars even if the offer was for the buyer’s daughter (a huge fan of Lee Kwang Soo). It was funny to see Yoo Jae Suk trying to decrease the price telling the buyer its not worth 50 dollars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgIbKrrg8Ew

Kim Jong Kook and Haha sell of Kim Jong Kook’s item by comparing Bob Marley giving a CD to Michael Jackson. The show commented on how thick faced Kim Jong Kook and Haha are for daring to sell of the CD for limited edition Michael Jordan sneakers from actor Oh Chang Seok.

Ready for the auction

Each team aimed to gain the most amount of funding to use during the auction to complete this week’s episode. Unfortunately, many were disappointed to learn some of their items had lower value than expected. In the end, Yoo Jae Suk & Lee Kwang Soo ended up gathering the most funding thanks to Yoo Jae Suk’s item-electric guitar.

Each team used the funding from their items to buy the boxes at the auction. From a total of 50 boxes, 10 boxes were reported to have a cellphone that contained clues to completing the mission. Each team gambled on which auction item would have a cellphone for completing the mission. Not surprisingly, Yoo Jae Suk & Lee Kwang Soo had the advantage since their team had the most funding. Ji Suk Jin caused everyone to be exasperated when he kept increasing the bid. Ji Suk Jin would call out the highest bid followed up increasing his bid again for no apparent reason. All the members asked why he would increase his bid when he doesn’t have any competitors.

Winner of this week’s episode

Team Yoo Jae Suk and Lee Kwang Soo successfully bidded for boxes that had clues for completing the mission. For winning the mission, Yoo Jae Suk and Lee Kwang Soo were told they could pick any of the remaining boxes to take home. If it had a cellphone, it was theirs to take.

Losers

Yoo Jae Suk and Lee Kwang Soo ended up picking a box with jump rope and an empty box respectively making them the winners but also the losers of the episode. All of their hard work resulted in receiving neither prize nor punishment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogd6OBJuiDQ

Special notes

Songs from Queen and BTS were used a lot in the background. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCP6B46smF0

Actor Oh Chang Seok parodied Kim Jong Kook when he is working out. According to Oh Chang Seok, Kim Jong Kook remarks “Its so tasty” when he’s lifting weights. Kim Jong Kook is said to be commenting “his work out is feeding his muscles.”

Opinion

This week’s episode felt rather bland compared to other episodes. ‘Running Man’ ratings have been on the decline in the recent years but comparing this episode to the most recent episodes, this one was not entertaining as the past ones. There were definitely some funny moments throughout the episode but it didn’t feel especially enjoyable. 

Check out what happened in previous episodes: Episode 439, Episode 441, Episode 442

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Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.

Police Believe Seungri Solicited Prostitutes for a Birthday Party in the Philippines

In the process of their investigation of the charges put against former BIGBANG member Seungri, authorities believe that the former singer solicited prostitutes in both 2015 and 2017.

Seungri
A police statement about Seungri – MBN

According to an MBN report on Wednesday, police secured a statement that there were sexual services or prostitution rings at Seungri’s, real name Lee Seung-hyun, birthday party in Palawan, the Philippines, in 2017.

The police have contacted a man who reportedly gathered the women for the birthday party. Additionally, they are also looking to investigate the women said to have been at the event.

Seungri speaks to reporters outside of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency – OSEN News

News of this allegation is in addition to charges that Lee attempted to secure prostitutes for potential foreign business investors back in 2015, according to Kakao Talk messages revealed by SBS FunE News. As a result, the police investigation is expected to gain momentum as they work to uncover more information on the allegations against Lee.

Moreover, with the Military Manpower Administration having officially postponed Lee’s military enlistment by three months, police will continue to summon him for questioning.

 

 

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By O.C

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MBC’s ‘Radio Star’ Did Not Edit Out Cha Tae Hyun Amid Gambling Scandal

Cha Tae Hyun who has currently cancelled all activities in the entertainment industry was reported to not have been edited out on March 20’s episode of MBC Radio Star.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1hZRkyErS0

On March 20, OSEN reported MBC aired their newest episode of ‘Radio Star’ which had not edited out MC Cha Tae Hyun at all. MC Cha Tae Hyun, also known for being a member of KBS’s ‘2 Days & 1 Night’ was in a scandal last week for illegal gambling alongside ‘2 Days & 1 Night’ member Kim Joon Ho.

Once news broke of the actor- entertainer’s gambling scandal, Cha Tae Hyun declared he would halt all activities to reflect on his actions. Interestingly, while KBS had to put their show ‘2 Days & 1 Night’ on an indefinite hiatus, MBC’s ‘Radio Star’ decided to not make any changes to reflect on Cha Tae Hyun’s scandal. What do you think about ‘Radio Star’s decision?

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By Sara N

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[RECAP] MBC ‘I Live Alone’ Struggles Without MC Jun Hyun Moo

The first episode without MC Jun Hyun Moo aired on March 15 where all the cast members struggle without their leader.

Brief background on MBC’s I Live Alone

MBC’s entertainment reality TV program, I Live Alone has been airing every week since March 2013 where cast members and guests view and comment about the current episode. Known for having popular guests (e.g. idols, actors) appear on the show in addition to the hilarious scenes from the cast members, I Live Alone is recognized to be one of the most popular variety shows in Korea. Even MBC’s Omniscient Interviewing View can be said to derived from this show. Former MC Jun Hyun Moo became familiar with his girlfriend model Han Hye Jin while filming on this show in 2017. The couple announced their breakup and temporary leave from the show last month.

Regular cast members: Park Narae, Gian84, Lee Si Eon, Sung Hoon, Henry, Hwasa

Commenters on this week’s episode: Park Narae, Sung Hoon, Lee Si, Gian84

Recap

The opening scene shows only Park Narae and Gian84 in the studio. As the 2 members worry how they will carry on the show, cut to Sung Hoon and Lee Si Eun joining them to offer some support during this crisis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffr40IdlEQo

This week’s episode showed ‘The Idiots’ minus Henry in Hong Kong. The 3 men explore a market where maknae Kian84 goes a little crazy buying various things. All the commentators back at the studio ask Kian84 why he suddenly bought so many things given he’s known to be a scrooge. According to Lee Si Eun, Kian84 recently bought a used car that had 200,000 miles very cheaply. But within a week of buying that used car, it broke down so now it’s in a shop called ‘I’m sick’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKTa2Is52qI

Heading to accommodations

After shopping and eating at the market, the ‘3 idiots’ head to their accommodations for the night. Lee Si Eun aka Captain Idiot is responsible for making the reservations tells his brothers to look forward to the ‘Iron Man Room’. Amid everyone’s expectations, the room turns out to…not be themed out in ‘Iron Man’ .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oGFUZ0KwLE

But instead cute and lovely room for princesses aka Disney princesses theme!

Lee Si Eun apologizes for his confusion, apparently when he made the reservations he got his english words mixed up, “Iron Man”, “prince and princess.” The 3 idiots look at the 2 princess beds and try to decide who’s going to sleep on the floor. Hence, the pool battle commences. 

Gian84 tries to copy everything Sung Hoon hyung does since its cool, Sung Hoon gets challenged to various games in the pool. Not surprisingly, Sung Hoon wins (former professional swimmer).

Park Narae is astonished at the mix up asking Lee Si Eun to regurgitate the chocolate he just ate. Apparently the staff of the show were really worried with two people no longer present, they gave the commenters chocolate for the first time ever to get some energy.

Park Narae struggles as the new MC

From the beginning of this episode, Park Narae tries her best to fill the empty space left by Jun Hyun Moo. Unfortunately, even when Park Narae says something that’s sort of common sense, the other commentators aren’t able to react since they don’t know what’s the correct answer to everyone’s disappointment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5muJIsO0YQ

Throughout the episode, MC Jeon Hyun Moo is even more greatly missed. Especially when the 3 idiots decide to drink before going to bed, they all display their funny sense of humor struggling to order in broken english. Hilariously Park Narae becomes confused with what’s the right phrase since there’s no one to rely on. Trying to order, ‘The idiots’ go through all the difficulty of ordering alcohol and snacks then Lee Si Eun tries to add an order of “toothpaste” to everyone’s astonishment at what he’s trying to say. (Lee Si Eun clearly doesn’t know what he was trying to order.)

At the end, Kian84 comments back at the studio “we’re close to being cancelled, we need to get our game together since 2 people left the house.”

The cast members are clearly trying to end it on an optimistic note, promising the remaining fun part of Hong Kong segment- preview shows all the idiots gathered together including Henry! And – Jessi’s guest segment!

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By Sara N

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Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.

Cristiano Ronaldo Surprises Young Fans on Upcoming Episode of ‘Einstein’

SBS “Einstein” siblings Won Tae-hoon and Won Tae-jin got a surprise of a lifetime when soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo walked through the door.

Cristiano Ronaldo meets brother Won Tae-hoon and Won Tae-jin – SBS

On Wednesday’s episode of “Einstein” Cristiano Ronaldo personally delivered a message of support to brothers Won Tae-hoon (12) and Won Tae-jin (12) after personally inviting them to Turin, Italy for a meeting.

The meeting, which took place earlier this month, while brief was inspirational and meaningful for the two, especially Won Tae-hoon. Won Tae-hoon is considered a soccer genius. Cha Bum-geun, an experienced sports commentator expressed awe and admiration after watching Tae-hoon place. “He is like Messi,” Cha said. However, playing soccer is not just a passionate hobby for the young player but is also a means to support his family.

Born to a Moroccan father and Korean mother, the Won brothers first appeared on “Einstein” last may, and have since made over 100 appearances on the show. In particular, as they shared more of their lives with the world, their struggle to make ends meet and spend quality time with each other as a result, touched viewers’ hearts. For Ten-hoon, soccer is the dream solution to his families woes.

During their conversation with Ronaldo, the soccer legend advised them that “in order to achieve your dream, it is important to do your best and trust that the dream will come true.” Ending their time together with a hearty cheer and hugging the brother, Ronaldo made his exit.

 

 

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By O.C

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National Tax Service Sends Agents to YG Headquarters Without Prior Notice

Although Yang Hyun-suk, YG Entertainment’s executive producer, denied a special tax investigation, it seems such an audit is indeed underway.

Yang Hyun-suk
Yang Hyun-suk – OSEN News database

Earlier this week, YG Entertainment’s executive producer Yang Hyun-suk refuted news that the agency was subject to a tax audit at the hands of the National Tax Service(NTS). In an online post, Yang said that the reports were essentially fake news. He commented that what one person posted online is now being accepted as fact and that “it’s different from the truth.”

His statement now contradicts information from industry sources. On Wednesday, the NTS reportedly sent investigators to YG’s headquarters in Hapjeong, a neighborhood in the Mapo district. Furthermore, it is reported that NTS deployed these agents without prior notice to obtain financial and accounting data for their investigation.

Asked about the tax probe, an agency spokesperson that it will “sincerely” cooperate with the audit.

 

 

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By O.C

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Lee Jung-Jae and Shin Min-A to Star in New JTBC Drama

JTBC has secured an all-star line-up for its upcoming drama “The Assistant,” including actor Lee Jung-jae and actress Shin Min-a.

Lee Jung-jae (left) and Shin Min-a – OSEN News database

On Tuesday, a spokesperson from JTBC reported that Lee Jung-jae and Shin Min-a have decided to appear in the networks new Friday-Saturday drama “The Aide” (working title).

The drama is about the dangerous games that politicians play behind closed doors and outside of the spotlight. As these influential people scrap for power and influence, the super assistant Jang Tae-joon (played by Lee Jung-jae) learns to survive and moves toward the pinnacle of power.

Jang begins the series as a senior aide to a fourth-term lawmaker but started his career as a policeman and investigator. However, later on, he decided to enter the National Assembly for more power.

The news that Lee will be staring in the drama is starting and exciting. It has been a decade since the lauded actor, now known more for his films roles, starred in a television series. His last drama, “Triple,” aired in 2009 and marked a departure from the silver screen for the next decade.

Over that time, Lee took on roles that spanned various genres, including melodrama, action, and crime. Some of his most memorable projects include The Face Reader, Assassination, and the Along With the Gods series. According to the actor, the uniqueness of the character made him accept the role.

“I’ve always had the desire to challenge a character that has never been seen before, ” said Lee in a recent interview. “The Aide,” which draws inspiration from real-life characters and events, deals with corruption, power, the law, and goodwill in a way that never been portrayed as earnestly.

On the other hand, Shin Min-a’s character Kang Sun-young is a competent first-term lawmaker. With dignity and confidence, she works to break the glass ceiling and feels no shame in her ability and ambition. With the support of the public, she gradually moves upward in the hierarchy of power.

Additionally, like Lee, Shin has not taken on a television role in years. Her last part was as Song Ma-rin in tVN’s 2017 show “Tomorrow With You” opposite Lee Je-hoon.

Meanwhile, “The Aide” is scheduled to air after “Beautiful World” concludes sometime in late May.

 

 

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By O.C

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JUS2 Smolder in Black and White Vogue Pictorial

Vogue Korea unveiled a smoldering pictorial featuring JUS2 members JB and Yugyeom.

On Tuesday, fashion magazine Vogue Korea releases pictures from a pictorial featuring the members of GOT7’s sub-unit JUS2. JB and Yugyeom, the members that comprise JUS2, smolder in the black and white photos with a restrained sensuality drawing a positive reaction from fans.

JYP Entertainment introduced JUS2 as the second unit from GOT7 after members JB and Jinyoung’s JJ Project, which released album Verse 2 in 2017. After debuting with their title song “Focus on Me,” JUS2 has gotten favorable reviews due to the fantastic combination of main vocalist JB and dancer Yugueom. Notably, both participated in writing and composing not only the title song but the rest of the tracks on their album.

Meanwhile, the duo will embark on an overseas showcase tour in six different countries starting in April. Moreover, during that same month, they will release the Japanese version of their debut album.

 

 

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By O.C

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President Moon Presses for Thorough Investigation of Celebrity Cases

As the investigations involving K-pop celebrities — namely the Burning Sun and Jung Joon-young cases — have exploded internationally due to their seemingly infinite layers of intrigue, corruption, and collusion, President Moon Jae-In has called for a thorough investigation of the cases.

President Moon Jae-in says that the current ongoing investigation involving celebrities needs to be investigated in a televised statement – SBS

On Monday, President Moon Jae-In released a public order for the Burning Sun, Jung Joon-young, and Jang Ja-yeon cases to be thoroughly investigated. In a powerful televised statement, the president laid bare some of the most challenging aspects of the ongoing cases including corruption and public sentiment:

Even though there is a lot of public suspicions, there are cases where the truth has not been revealed for many years or has even been concealed. The common characteristic [of these cases] is that they have occurred in the privileged class of society and the prosecution and police have shown signs of intentional mismanagement […] actively obstructed the search for the truth and concealed it from the people […] If we don’t find out the truth of these cases, which took place in the socially privileged class, we won’t be able to speak of a just society,” said the president.”

Jang Ja-yeon – OSEN News

Notably, as a result of him including and speaking of Jang’s case, which was to close at the end of March, it has officially been extended by two months to May. Even so, a decade has passed since the case first started in 2009 and the 15-year statute of limitation regarding sexual crimes may still be upheld.

The renewed momentum into the Jang case seems to have little effect on Yoon Ji-oh, an actress and friend of the late Jang. In particular, Yoon is one of the only people to come forward as a witness to abuse that her friend endured at the hands of powerful men.

Furthermore, since revealing her identity in the process of this reopened case, she has continued to pursue justice with unwavering passion and purpose aided by those seeking a  just end to the investigation as well.

Actress Yoon Ji-oh speaks to a group of reporters – OSEN News

On the same day as President Moon’s announcement, Yoon took to social media where she expressed her gratitude. Today for the first time in a long time, since my past 15 testimonies, I see the light,” said Yoon. “I have so much gratitude and respect for all of you. Although I am lacking and weak you all have protected and supported me” and “I will continue to testify in good faith,” she said, thanking the president and her advocates.

The attention brought to the matter by President Moon, the country’s most public political figure, is an answer to concerns that Yoon voiced last week. After attending a session with investigators where she provided her 14th testimony on the Jang case, Yoon expressed consternation over the lack of media and public attention.  “Each time Jang’s case comes up it is overlooked, but please pay more attention to it,” she said.

As Yoon continues her public campaign for truth, it is yet to be seen whether the same energy will be transferred to prosecutors and the court where justice will ultimately be tested.

 

 

 

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By Olempia Castillo

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