Jail for S. Korean man who molested women after offering free massages for online reviews

The interior of the Busan massage parlour operated by the local man who has appealed against his prison sentence. - YULL_MOO/NAVER

SEOUL: A South Korean man offered complimentary massages for women in return for online reviews, but he ended up molesting them.

The man, in his 30s, who has not been named, was jailed for 18 months by a Busan court in December 2023 for operating without a massage licence and molesting multiple women over a two-year period.

He has appealed against the verdict, saying the punishment is too severe. He is set to face a second trial.

He ran a massage parlour with his mother in central Busan, South Korea’s second-largest metropolitan city, offering services including massages for sports injuries, weight loss and hernia treatments.

Multiple female victims spoke to South Korean TV network JTBC in an investigative news report on March 15, revealing that the man had approached them to offer a free trial in return for them writing an online review about the massage experience.

One woman said she expected a middle-aged woman to be the masseuse but was served by a man instead, leading her to opt for a dry massage instead of an oil massage that would require her to be unclothed.

The encounter turned out to be an unpleasant experience, with the woman telling JTBC that the masseur pressed his elbow on her thighs and nether regions, while also massaging her chest and claiming “it was okay because the lights were off”.

Another victim said the masseur offered to relieve a knot in her upper chest with oil. She said he did not massage her legs as requested after she complained that her legs hurt, but instead massaged her groin area. She admitted feeling unsure if her experience was standard procedure for getting a massage.

The Busan district court in December determined that the molestations were committed over a two-year period under the pretext of giving massage services but took into account that the man had no history of sexual offences.

His mother, who is also reportedly not licensed as a masseuse, appeared to claim that her son’s business operations were not wrong. “If he went to school, he would have received a (massage) certificate,” she told JTBC.

Checks revealed that numerous reviews of the massage business were still listed on Korean site Naver, with many complimenting the services and the man’s techniques. - The Straits Times/ANN

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South Korea , molest , massage , reviews , online


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