The case surrounding the suspicious death of Korean actress Jang Ja Yeon has been haunting the Korean entertainment industry for roughly a decade now. The scandal, which broke out in 2009, shed light on the corruption that exists behind closed doors involving high-profile figures taking advantage of vulnerable Korean actresses.
While the original investigation had ruled that Jang’s death was the result of suicide, the main source of evidence — in this case, Jang’s body — had been tampered with and then destroyed before an autopsy could be conducted. Additionally, more than a year’s worth of data had allegedly been deleted off of Jang’s phone during the investigation. The case has since been reopened by a woman who is identifying herself as the sole key witness — former actress Yun Geo.
Yun has since moved to Canada where she is a permanent resident and is exclusively speaking to NextShark about what she has experienced in the Korean entertainment industry and how her life has changed since then.
Yun Ji Oh only recently revealed her identity as the sole witness into the investigation surrounding Jang’s death and publicly recounted the time she allegedly witnessed Jang being sexually harassed and assaulted at the birthday party of President Kim of the Contents Entertainment. In an interview with Asian Boss, Yun claimed that she was present when a high-profile figure began forcing Jang onto his lap then groping her body, refusing to let her get up.
While Yun admits that she was never subjected to these treatments herself, she has stated that she was still required and pressured to attend private events where she was expected to entertain and socialize with older men. After witnessing the president of her agency physically abuse one of her friends as well as a producer, she became aware of his violent nature and was forced to oblige.
According to the former actress, by speaking to Jang’s family, she was able to learn that Jang had left behind a note detailing the horrors she had endured and a list of at least 31 names of the powerful figures who had abused her — including mention of the physical abuse Jang had received from the president of the company — complete with her signature, social security number and thumbprint, as if the document was meant to be used for legal purposes.
Yun claims that since she spoke out about the existence of this list, she has been involved in three different car accidents, all under what she believes to be suspicious circumstances:
“The first car accident was due to tire pressure during the winter season. While I was driving during winter, I saw the tire pressure light on my car display and all of a sudden car spun around four times counterclockwise. Thankfully there were no collisions between cars front or backside, but I suffered from minor muscle issues.
“Soon after I had a second car accident, I was waiting on the traffic light to turn green and all of a sudden a car was speeding behind and crashed into my car. as I got out of the vehicle, the driver who hit me said he was on his way to pick up his child from school, but of course I had no way of knowing if he was telling me the truth since this is his personal life and I didn’t want to rude by asking him. After coming home from the second accident I shared what happened with my family and they thought the whole situation was very suspicious.”
The most recent car accident allegedly took place around the time of Yun’s interview with Asian Boss. She tells us:
“When I was in South Korea for ASIANBOSS’s second visit to see me, we were at an underground garage and there was another car accident. A car came out of nowhere and backed-up and crashed into the security guard’s vehicle. The person who ran into us was angry even though the accident was caused by him.”
Yun has openly expressed her concern over her safety and security as she is currently unable to receive any police protection in Canada. According to the former actress, her address had been exposed twice around this time and she began receiving threatening phone calls in the middle of the night:
“I do not know how they got my personal cellphone number, a man would call me at the middle of the night calling me by name and would talk to me about my Instagram account, so I hung up the phone immediately. And in South Korea, the penalty fee for stalking a person is only $80 and the stalker cannot be punished beyond that.”
Furthermore, Yun believes the Korean media has been biased against her in their reports of the investigation and is actively working to discredit her as a witness:
“The South Korean media’s bias and false report are disregarding my testimony and credentials as a witness. Even if I testify the truth they will not report my case.”
Even when the media approached her, she claims they would bombard her with questions not pertaining to the case at hand:
“The news media would bombard me with questions like, ‘Did you also sexually give in?’ What kind of question is that? The media would ask questions about my authenticity, they should not be attacking me… From now on I will only focus on sharing transparent facts to the foreign press.”
Despite her negative experiences, Yun has expressed that she does not regret stepping forward as a witness:
“I have never regretted telling the truth. I am just thankful that I could be the witness. Even though many other celebrities hid their faces on ‘Unni’ Jang Ja-yeon, I am glad that I am the one who is next to her and fighting for her cause.
“As a female in the entertainment industry, I believe things like this (sexual harassment) happen not only here in South Korea, but all over the world, not only in the entertainment industry but any professional environment. I believe things like this happen even now. To stop this we must find every single suspect and give them the best punishment possible so there will not be any more heartbreaks.”
Since she moved to Canada, Yun has been seeking assistance from local and national authorities:
“I currently live in Canada with a Canadian green card and there is no support from the Canadian government. This is reality. I would like the Canadian Government and the United Nations to reopen the investigation and provide protection. The South Korean government has no witness protection program. There is just no such thing.”
Yun is hoping to take her story and her witness testimony to an international audience by having her book republished in several different languages:
“I believe my chapter is coming to an end. Over the last ten years, I have testified 16 times. What I can do now is, as a writer, I am in the process of writing essays on the truth and it is currently getting translated into English. I am currently writing every single day, so for the second book, I can reach out to the whole world.”