Female Patrol Squads Now Fighting Against Secret Camera Porn In Bathrooms

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

Secretly filming women in bathroom stalls, changing rooms and other private locations is a serious problem in South Korea.

Secret camera porn, or “molka,” is becoming increasingly common. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of people arrested for molka crimes jumped from 1,110 to 6,600, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). To combat this problem, Seoul has hired female patrol squads to scour restrooms and changing rooms for hidden recording devices.

Armed with handheld equipment for the detection of hidden electronic devices, these squads are on the front lines in the battle against secret camera porn. They scan door knobs, toilet seats, toilet paper holders, and air ducts — any place where a small camera could be hidden.

“It’s my job to make sure there’s no camera to film women while they relieve themselves,” 49-year-old Park Kwang-mi, a member of one of the squads, told reporters. “This is necessary to help women feel safe.”

“It’s weird that there are people who want to see something like that,” she added.

Molka crimes are not limited to filming women in bathrooms and changing rooms. They also include “up-skirt” photos or videos, which have been popular in South Korea and Japan for many years.

Highlighting the severity of the molka problem, the third-most popular Google search in South Korea last year was “waterpark molka.”

South Korean authorities are working to curb the molka problem. Not only are there patrol squads, but offenders face severe penalties, such as a fine of up to $9,100 or a maximum of five years in prison.

When camera phones first came out, South Korea required all cell phones manufactured domestically to generate a camera shutter sound to prevent stealthy photographers from taking inappropriate photos of unsuspecting victims. While this was initially perceived as an overreaction, it is now seen as a necessity to fight South Korea’s molka problem.

Police also offer monetary rewards for information about molka crimes.

The molka problem is reportedly societal and technological. Advanced technology makes it easier for men to film women without their knowledge, and the strong patriarchal culture in South Korea often makes men feel the behavior is acceptable. Sexual repression also plays a role, with many offenders claiming that they were simply curious.

South Korea’s women’s rights ranking is reportedly one of the lowest among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member states.

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