Korean diplomat caught on video harassing minors in Chile

Korean diplomat caught on video harassing minors in Chile
The diplomat was seen repeating “Please” to Emilio.
PHOTO: The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

A Korean diplomat in Chile was caught harassing teenage girls on a video released Monday by a television network there, prompting officials to launch an investigation.

In an episode of the reality show "En Su Propia Trampa," which roughly translates to "Caught in Your Own Trap," the diplomat attempted to hug and kiss a girl, apparently saying he liked her eyes, lips and breasts.

He also sought to take her into another room.

Tio Emilio, who runs the programme, said via his Facebook and Twitter pages that the girls are under 13 years old.

During an interview with him, one of the girls said, "I even came to think of suicide because I felt it was extremely disgusting."

The diplomat was seen repeating "Please" to Emilio.

Seoul's Foreign Ministry said it has been looking into what appears to be the official's misconduct together with Chilean authorities, after suspending his duties and recalling him home.

In Santiago, Korean Ambassador Yu Ji-eun will issue a statement Tuesday apologising to the students and their families and pledging a full investigation and strict punishment against the offender.

"We take his misbehavior very seriously and plan to take stern measures based on a thorough investigation and law, under our principle of zero-tolerance toward such grave wrongdoings as sexual harassment of minors," the ministry said in a statement Monday.

The councilor-level diplomat was hired specifically for consular service and dispatched to Chile as a cultural diplomacy officer.

The girls are believed to be students of his Korean language course, ministry officials said.

He is also suspected of having harassed another student, the officials noted, adding that further work would be done to verify the overall charges and pursue legal action.

The incident sparked concerns about a possible impact on the craze for K-pop and Korean TV dramas in the Latin American country.

As of Monday afternoon, the initial clip had been viewed more than 700,000 times and shared by about 3,600 people, with over 900 comments posted on Facebook.

Mindful of a growing uproar among some 3,000 Koreans living in Chile, the ambassador also plans to offer a separate apology to them over the issue, the ministry noted.

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