Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

(EDITORIAL) What Exactly Is B.A.P’s Himchan Being Charged With?

The recent case of B.A.P‘s Himchan has officially been forwarded to prosecution.

On September 10th KST, it was revealed that the police had forwarded the case to prosecution with the recommendation for indictment. The charge is listed as 강제추행, a term that encompasses several categories and is loosely translated as a forced indecent act/harassment. (Read below for more on what this term implies). To clarify, Korean law has two items listed as “charges.” When police make a criminal charge, this simply refers to the “formal allegation that you have committed one or more criminal offenses.” When forwarded to the prosecutor’s office, they may make their own charge which refers to a more formal decision to indict.

The police also stated that Himchan is not being detained. Meanwhile, the prosecution will take over the case and investigate the matter fully before deciding whether or not to indict, as is custom for Korean law. In the meantime, Himchan continues to deny the charges, saying that everything that happened was consensual due to mutual feelings. (For clarification on where this quote came from, please click here to read).

Meanwhile, the upcoming variety show “B.A.P’s Traince” had previously stated that, considering all things, they will be putting off the premiere date to October. They went on to clarify that if Himchan is proven innocent in the matter, they will air the show. If he is not, they will consider canceling the show altogether. However, they said they will wait for the outcome before making any major decisions about the future of the show.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at the exact charges Himchan is facing.

Assault or Harassment: What Is Himchan Being Charged With?

Due to the exact wording in Korea and the inability to translate the term correctly, many international fans have been confused about the actual charge being brought against Himchan. As we mentioned before, the term being used in news reports and police statements is 강제추행. This is a specific charge that comes from the broader term 추행, a phrase which often means causing a person sexual humiliation or offense by using violent or threatening means. The most similar translation to this in English is “an indecent act.” It’s important to know that this charge does not include sexual assault such as rape or attempted rape. On the other hand, it generally refers to inappropriate sexual touching or physical contact. This can include groping, grinding, kissing, and more.

While “indecent acts” generally refer to physical contact when charges are being pressed, it’s important to know that physical contact is not always required for this charge. According to n indecent act can be translated as “a very broad term referring to any act objectively capable of producing feelings of sexual humiliation or revulsion that infringes upon the right to sexual self-determination of another person. Technically speaking, physical contact is not a requirement.”¹

This means that as long as someone can prove they felt humiliation or revulsion, they can press charges. This can include when people use violence to make people watch sexual acts, especially in an enclosed area (such as a house). This requires no physical contact but still falls under an “indecent act.” However, with the majority of cases defined as “indecent acts,” it tends to refer to inappropriate physical contact such as the ones listed above (groping, kissing, etc).

According to reports, the actual charge being brought against Himchan is a specific type of추행 (indecent act) known as 강제추행. This can be translated as “Indecent Act by Compulsion” and refers to situations where people feel forced to commit or endure an indecent act. In normal indecent act cases, the crime specifies intimidation or violence as a necessary means. However, with indecent act by compulsion cases, intimidation or violence are not really necessary. Kang explains further, “This is because the Supreme Court of Korea has interpreted that the preliminary act of intimation/violence and the actual indecent act can take place simultaneously. When a victim is taken by surprise [for example], the ‘indecent act’ itself also constitutes ‘violence.'”

That means that under this category, charges can be pressed for a variety of things. For example, if a person is kissed by surprise and feels humiliated as a result, they can press charges for indecent act by compulsion. Generally speaking, however, they must prove that the average person would also feel humiliated in the same circumstance. A more extreme example could be if a person is surprised to be groped or touched in a sexual way, since they had no chance to refuse. Due to the phrase covering such a wide variety of instances, it is no wonder there has been some confusion as to what Himchan’s exact charges have been. As it is a private, legal manner, no specifications have been revealed to the public as to the exact type of indecent act that was reportedly committed and only the general term of indecent act by compulsion has been announced through the police report.

Because this Korean definition falls somewhere between sexual assault (성폭행) and harassment (송희롱), there is no exact translation into the English language and is what has led various news sources to define it differently in their articles and posts. Generally speaking, most English-language outlets are choosing to use the phrase “indecent assault” since this is the most similar charge in the English language. However, the English term for indecent assault has a more black-and-white definition, while the Korean term covers a multitude of situations and acts.

What Does The Future Hold?

With this type of charge, both parties must prove several things. If the situation of the person making the charge falls more under the “feeling humiliation or revulsion” that is more commonly seen in severe harassment charges (instead of a more easily-definable indecent assault case such as forced sexual groping, etc.), they must prove that the average person would also feel the same humiliation and revulsion if placed in the same situation.

On the other hand, the person being accused must also prove one of the following things: they never touched the reported victim in the first place, they touched the victim but not in a sexual way, or they touched the victim in a sexual way, but there was consent.

Since no specifics have been given on Himchan’s case, it is impossible for the public to judge the situation or even know what sort of act was committed. Due to this, we must remind people that speculation about either party is not wise.

Due to the somewhat gray area that can sometimes be found in these cases (especially when parties are telling completely opposing stories such as this case with Himchan and the person who made the report), that is why the prosecution will carefully investigate the case before making any final decisions and judge if the case is warranted or not. Just because the case was forwarded to prosecution does not mean Himchan will definitely be indicted. As the prosecutor’s office conducts their own investigation and speaks to the parties and witnesses involved, it’s possible they will accept the police’s initial recommendation for indictment or dismiss the charges altogether. This all depends on what is uncovered in the investigation and what each party can prove.

What do you think? Does this help you understand the case a little better? Let us know your own thoughts on the matter!

Media: TS Entertainment
News Sources: 1, 2
Legal Definitions/Translations: 1, 2, 3
*Disclaimer: This editorial was written after seeking counsel from those active in the legal field (distinct from the sources for legal definitions and translations used  in the links above). As such, the information contained in this article is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, if you have questions or concerns about the translation or wording of this article, feel free to contact us at info@uat.whatthekpop.com or by clicking here