South Korean Army chief of staff Jang Jun-kyu allegedly ordered the use of dating apps to track down and arrest gay soldiers after a sex tape between two men within their ranks was uploaded online.
The non-profit Military Human Rights Center of Korea (MHRCK) claims that gay soldiers under investigation are being coerced by Korean military prosecutors to use dating apps to get information on the men’s name, rank and unit.
The human rights group released screenshots of in-app exchanges between two soldier talking about sharing photos and which military units they serve in.
South Korean military officials have carried out an “army-wide search” for gay and bisexual soldiers, with up to 50 identified so far, according to Quartz.
But the army has refuted claims that such a probe is taking place.
“The investigation team launched the probe after recognizing that an incumbent soldier uploaded a video of him having sexual intercourse with another male soldier on social media,” it said, according to the Korea Herald.
A spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the Ministry of National Defense is in the process of verifying an audio of an officer allegedly interrogating a soldier about his relationship with another soldier.
He was asked questions about sex and pressured to give information about other soldiers who may be gay.
“It’s two books of A4 paper. Just by looking at that, you can totally see your relationship right away with this guy. So if you lie to me, it’s not like we’re just going to let it slide,” the investigator said, referring to “400 pages” of evidence about the soldier’s relationship.
Same-sex relations are legal outside of the army, but are still not widely accepted in South Korea.
However, young Koreans have become increasingly accepting of LGBTQ people, with nearly 24% saying they had “no reservations about homosexuality,” according to a 2014 Asian Institute for Policy Studies survey.
“If military personnel who served without any problem are forced to be dishonorably discharged and sent to prison due to their sexual orientation, it is hard to distinguish Korea from the worrisome countries where homosexuals are detained, tortured and executed,” the MHRCK said in a statement.
Feature Image via Sgt. Christopher Dennis