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Victim of Miryang gang rape never consented to revealing suspects' identities: group

June 6, 2024 - 14:08 By Yoon Min-sik

This photo taken Wednesday shows a restaurant at which one of the suspects of 2004 Miryang gang rape case had worked. It is run by the man's relatives and is currently suspended from operation due to construction law violations. (Yonhap)

A local YouTuber's quest to reveal the identities of 44 men responsible for a 2004 Miryang gang rape case has faced opposition from a local women's rights group, which disclosed late Wednesday that the YouTuber never got the consent of the crime's principal victim.

The Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center said in a press release that the YouTuber's claim to have "communicated with the victim's family via mail, and agreed to reveal (identity) of all 44" is not true.

"The victim of the 2004 sexual attack case was completely unaware (of the disclosure) until the YouTuber posted the first video, and was not approached for her consent," the group said.

"Both the KSVRC and the victim express concern for unilaterally decided uploading of the videos and the race to get more views, which is far from honoring the victim's wishes or helping her get back to a normal life," the group said, urging the YouTuber to delete the videos.

A few hours after the press release, the YouTuber deleted the notice on the channel claiming to have received the consent of the victim's family, but did not delete the videos.

In 2004, 44 high school boys in Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province, were found to have taken part in physical and sexual assault over the course of a year.

While there was more than one victim, most of the crimes were committed against one girl, who was 14 at the time, and the non-government group has been supporting her.

The case became notorious not only for the severity of the crime, but also for the widespread victim-blaming in the local community, and the fact that none of the boys got criminal punishment due to their age.

The recent revelations by the aforementioned YouTuber and others have brought the case back to the surface.

After the YouTuber in question revealed the identity of someone he claimed was one of the attackers, multiple Internet users started saying that a woman running a nail polishing business in Miryang was his girlfriend. But it was later found that the woman had nothing to do with the alleged criminal, and the YouTuber told his subscribers to stop online attacks on her.

As of Thursday, four men thought to be perpetrators in the Miryang case -- all born between 1986 and 1988 -- had their identities revealed, along with a female police officer who at the time wrote an online post that was seen as favorable toward the perpetrators. All of them had been subject to severe criticism from the public, two men lost their job, and one was temporarily removed from his duties.