South Korean spycam ring filmed more than a thousand unaware hotel guests

A camera lens that could be recording... you

South Korean police say they've arrested four people on suspicion of secretly filming about 1600 guests in hotel rooms and posting or streaming the footage on the internet.

Police said the men, and two others, posed as customers to secretly install the cameras, obtained online from overseas, in 42 rooms at 30 places around the country since last August. Soranet, which was shut down previous year, was a popular site for uploading videos and photos taken using hidden and upskirt cameras. Since 2013, more than 30,000 cases of illicit recording have been reported across the country, The New York Times reported in September.

As reported by The KoreaTimes, the sales of spy cam detectors has skyrocketed during March 2019 following a scandal involving a South Korean singer who recorded video of his sex partners without their permission and shared them with friends.

Police said it did not appear that the hotels were involved. Between November 2018 and this month, police said, the service brought in upward of $6,000.

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However, this was a guise as they took the opportunity to install secret pinhole cameras inside digital TV boxes, power outlets and hairdryer holders, the Cyber Investigation Department at the National Police Agency said in a statement. It had more than 4,000 users, 97 of whom paid add-on fees for additional features like video replay.

A police officer demonstrates mini-spy cameras installed in a hair dryer, as he is shown on a screen, at a police station in Seoul, South Korea.

A spokesperson for the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency told the Korea Herald police were targeting the practice of covert filming.

More than 5,400 people were arrested for spycam-related crimes in South Korea in 2017, but fewer than 2% were jailed. The perpetrators, if convicted, could face up to five years in prison and fines amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

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