South Korea Hotel Spy Camera Livestream Scandal

Carlos ZGZ/Flickr (Public Domain)

Website secretly filmed 1,600 hotel guests for fetish live stream

South Korea police made arrests this week.


Trixie Reyna


Posted on Mar 21, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 4:37 pm CDT

Seoul police confirmed Wednesday that a gang secretly filmed 1,600 guests in 30 accommodations in 10 different cities across South Korea and broadcast the footage live to paying customers online, CNN reports. Two suspects were arrested and two more involved in the scandal were investigated.

The properties have not been named. “Police said there was no evidence they were involved in the scheme,” points out USA Today.

The Cyber Investigation Department of the country’s police agency revealed in a statement that the culprits hid mini cameras with a 1-millimeter lens—“no bigger than the head of a small screw”—inside digital TV boxes, wall sockets, and hairdryer mounts, among other places where they would not be noticed.

Police said the unnamed website where over 800 videos were uploaded had over 4,000 subscribers, “97 of whom paid a $44.95 monthly fee to access extra features, such as the ability to replay certain live streams,” CNN adds. The service, set up in an overseas server, earned over $6,000 before it was shut down just earlier this month.

Forty-two rooms in budget hotels or motels located in the country’s North and South Gyeongsang and Chungcheong provinces were targeted between Nov. 24 last year and March 2 this year, according to the Korea Herald. The local newspaper adds that “under current law, distribution of illegal videos is subject to up to five years in jail and a penalty of 30 million won ($26,580), and up to a year and 10 million won ($8,860) for distributing porn.”

The arrests proved to be historic.

“It is the first time for the police to uncover spy camera crime that is live fed to an overseas site,” police said, according to NBC News. “South Korean authorities warned hotel guests to pay special attention when staying in rooms.”

Before this hotel spycam scandal, the South Korean government already hired “thousands of workers to conduct daily checks in public bathrooms for hidden cameras,” Time reports, in an effort address the country’s mounting problem with illicit spy cameras.

People expressed their horror on Twitter when the news broke. Author Catherine Ryan Howard tweeted, “Hidden cameras in Air B&B properties is what gave me the idea for Rewind. I couldn’t even have imagined this…”

“There should be a travel warning about this,” @theasianfmnst demanded.

L.A. Times writer Chris Reynolds wondered “who was looking back” when he visited South Korea recently.

In this age of video voyeurism, apparently, one can’t be too safe.



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*First Published: Mar 21, 2019, 8:18 am CDT