The ex-boyfriend of late Korean pop star Goo Hara has been sentenced to prison for blackmailing her over sex videos that played a part in her apparent suicide.
The sentence was handed down by the Seoul Central District Court in his appeal trial on Thursday, where he was placed under court custody, according to Korean entertainment website Soompi.
In 2018, Goo Hara was abused by her ex-boyfriend, Choi Jong-bum, who—after they broke up—threatened "to end her entertainment career" by leaking their sex videos.
A CCTV clip of the couple showed the singer kneeling before him apparently begging him not to.
Goo Hara, a member of former girl group Kara, was found dead at her home in southern Seoul last November, in a possible suicide after being the target of abusive online comments since the incident.
Choi Jong-bum, a hairdresser, was then convicted of multiple crimes including blackmail and inflicting injuries, and was given a suspended jail term.
In its verdict Thursday, the court stated, “Sexual intercourse is one of the most intimate aspects of a person’s privacy, and to threaten to expose a video filming this can not only cause irreparable psychological damages to the victim, but it can also severely damage their honor.”
“Not only this, but the defendant made the threat to publicly expose the video abusing the fact that such a video would result in even more serious damages as the victim was a celebrity,” it added.
However, the court concluded that there was no sufficient evidence that Goo Hara did not consent to be filmed.
“Based on the evidence that was submitted by the prosecution, it is still difficult to say beyond a reasonable doubt that filming took place without consent,” it added.
Six months prior to her death, Goo Hara was hospitalized due to a suspected suicide attempt, saying in a statement that she had been "in agony over a number of issues."
Goo Hara, 28, debuted as a member of Kara in 2008. She launched a career as a solo artist in Japan and held a concert there last November.