Top South Korea director Kim Ki-duk accused of rape

Women and men around the world are taking part in the #MeToo movement. (Shutterstock)
Updated 07 March 2018
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Top South Korea director Kim Ki-duk accused of rape

SEOUL: A South Korean actress has accused award-winning film director Kim Ki-duk and a top actor of rape, as the country’s nascent #MeToo movement begins to spiral.
The fresh allegations against Kim come after his presence at this year’s Berlin Film Festival caused controversy following a fine for physically assaulting a different actress.
In the latest case an actress, who refused to be named, said that Kim repeatedly tried to enter her hotel room when they were shooting a movie in a remote village several years ago.
“It was a living hell... so many nights, he came to my room and slammed the door or phoned me at the room repeatedly until I responded,” she told Seoul’s MBC television station.
Kim eventually summoned her to his room to “discuss a script,” she went on. “Then he raped me.”
The film’s male star Cho Jae-hyun also raped her, she said.
The two men “shared stories of raping actresses and there was a sense of competition between them,” she said in an investigation aired late Tuesday.
The actress said she had quit acting afterwards and was in therapy for years.
Her accusations come as the #MeToo movement gradually gains ground in South Korea, which remains socially conservative and patriarchal in many respects despite its economic and technological advances.
Earlier this week a provincial governor and former presidential contender resigned after an aide accused him of multiple rapes.
Kim — who has won prizes at the Berlin, Cannes and Venice film festivals — was fined 5 million won ($4,600) by prosecutors last year for physically assaulting an actress on set.
They dismissed sex abuse charges citing lack of evidence but the case sparked controversy at this year’s Berlinale, which invited Kim despite its support for the #MeToo campaign against abuse and mistreatment of women.
Kim told MBC television in text messages that he was only involved in “consensual sexual relationships.”
“I never tried to satisfy my personal desires using my status as a film director,” he added.
Kim has previously rejected abuse accusations against him, saying he ensures no one “suffers” on the sets of his ultraviolent, sexually explicit art movies.
Cho, who has starred in many of Kim’s movies and is known as his “alter ego” told the station he would talk about the accusations “once an investigation begins.”
“I’m panicking,” he said. “I am a sinner. But many of the things I see in news are so different from truth.”
Cho apologized last month after being accused of sexually abusing female crew members and students. He was fired from the college where he was teaching and removed from a TV drama production.
Another actress interviewed by MBC Tuesday said Kim repeatedly asked to see her breasts and her naked body during an audition process that felt “deeply humiliating.”
All three of Kim’s accusers remain anonymous for fear of public shaming.
Women in South Korea’s movie industry, both on screen or behind cameras, shy away from making open accusations against senior staffers or directors for fear of permanently damaging their careers.


After shedding Daesh, Mosul embraces makeovers

An Iraqi woman gets a lip injection at an aesthetic clinic in the northern city of Mosul on November 19, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2018
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After shedding Daesh, Mosul embraces makeovers

  • Mosul, and Iraq more broadly, have been shaken by waves of conflict since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and paved the way for a sectarian war
  • The city’s medical services were hit hard by Daesh’s three-year reign and the months-long battle to oust it

MOSUL, Iraq: For three years, Mosul’s women were covered in black from head to toe and its men had to keep their beards long. Salons were shut, and plastic surgery considered a crime.
But more than a year after the Daesh group’s ouster, the Iraqi city is flaunting its more fabulous side.
Need to zap away a scar or a burn? Cover up a bald spot with implants? Whiten teeth for a dazzling smile? Mosul’s plastic surgeons and beauticians are at your service.
Raji Najib, a Syrian living in Mosul, recently made use of the city’s aesthetic offerings.
The 40-year-old had long been self-conscious of his bald spots, until his Iraqi friends told him what had worked for them — hair implants at a new clinic in their hometown.
“They told me the equipment was modern, the nurses competent and the prices good,” Najib said.
In Mosul, the average hair implant procedure costs around $800, including the follow-up after the operation.
Nearly 90 kilometers (50 miles) to the east in Iraq’s Irbil, or even further north in Turkey, the same operation costs at least $1,200.
Plasma injections to prevent hair loss cost around $63 in Mosul, but at least $20 more in Irbil.
In addition to the difference in price, Najib would have had to put up money and time for travel.
“Going to a clinic in Mosul is much easier, as I don’t have time to travel outside Mosul,” he told AFP.

Decades ago, only one department in Mosul’s hospitals offered plastic surgery, and only to those who had a severe accident or were trying to eliminate a physical handicap from birth.
Mosul, and Iraq more broadly, have been shaken by waves of conflict since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and paved the way for a sectarian war.
Religious hard-liners forced women to cover up or stay at home, and extremists in particular targeted hairdressers, many of whom closed their shops in fear.
Another shock came in 2014 when the Daesh group swept across much of Iraq’s north, with the militants making Mosul their de facto capital.
The religious police of Daesh enforced ultra-strict rules on dress for all residents, making sure women showed no skin and men wore ankle-length capris and long beards, with no moustache.
The city has since gotten a makeover.
Five beauty clinics have opened since Mosul was recaptured last summer by Iraqi security forces, and they can hardly keep up with the flow of customers, most of them men.
Muhannad Kazem told AFP he was the first to relaunch his city’s beauty business with his clinic, Razan, which offers teeth whitening services and other dental care.
His secret? “The employees came from Lebanon, and the treatments and machines were imported,” said Kazem, 40.

The city’s medical services were hit hard by Daesh’s three-year reign and the months-long battle to oust it.
The available hospital beds in Mosul dropped from 3,657 before 2014 to just 1,622 last year, according to the local human rights commission.
But the city is rebuilding, and one new commercial center houses the Diamond Dental Clinic in the bottom floor, with the Shahrazad beauty center upstairs.
A poster at the entrance advertises what’s on offer: injections of botox and other fillers, slimming surgeries, dermatological operations, and more.
Inside the glossy interior are men and women alike, an unthinkable sight under the iron-fisted rule of Daesh.
A female employee carefully injected serums to prevent hair loss into the scalp of a woman gritting her teeth, one of the dozen customers streaming in per day.
Beautician Alia Adnan said the physical and mental impact of the militants on people in Mosul has been long-lasting.
“They have hair or skin problems because of the stress and the pollution that Mosul’s residents were exposed to, both under Daesh and during the clashes,” she told AFP.