Late Goo Hara’s ex-boyfriend Choi Jong Bum denied bail

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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 25: A memorial altar of K-pop star Goo Hara is seen at the Seoul St. Mary's Hospital on November 25, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. K-pop star Goo Hara of Kara was found dead yesterday on November 24. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 25: A memorial altar of K-pop star Goo Hara is seen at the Seoul St. Mary's Hospital on November 25, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. K-pop star Goo Hara of Kara was found dead on November 24. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Korea’s Supreme Court has rejected the bail application from late Goo Hara’s ex-boyfriend, Choi Jong Bum.

Asking for his release, Choi had submitted a plea seeking bail in September with the Supreme Court’s first division. A hairdresser by professional, Choi was sentenced to one year in prison for assaulting and threatening the late singer.

K-pop singer Goo was found dead at her home on 24 Nov 2019 at the age of 28, and the late singer had suffered from a long legal battle against her ex-boyfriend. Choi had first taken Goo to court on assault charges but was served with a counter case from Goo. She filed the lawsuit on the grounds of physical assault and threats of a sex cam that was filmed without her consent.

The Supreme Court had denied Choi’s bail request, stating that “there is no good reason to grant bail”. The court also judged that the nature of his crimes is too severe to grant the request.

Initially sentenced to three-year probation and one and a half years in prison if probation was violated, the second trial sentenced Choi to jail as the court decided the first sentence was too light. The court pointed out that “the victim is a famous celebrity, and the nature of his crime is done with ill-intent. Threatening to distribute video footage of sexual intercourse caused irreparable pain to the victim and damages her reputation seriously.”

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 24: Goo Hara attends press conference for the "6th Suncheonman International Animal Film Festival" at Korea Press Center on July 24th, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by THE FACT/Imazins via Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 24: Goo Hara attends press conference for the "6th Suncheonman International Animal Film Festival" at Korea Press Center on July 24th, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by THE FACT/Imazins via Getty Images)

The court stated that Choi had not received forgiveness from the victim before her passing and that they had “taken into consideration that the bereaved family members are pleading for severe punishment”.

Goo’s brother, Goo Ho In, left a lengthy letter on his Instagram in April 2020, revealing that family and friends were enraged with Choi, especially when the latter opened a new salon and had a celebration party immediately after he was sentenced to probation in the first trial. In his note, Goo’s brother also urged for a heavier sentence as Choi had “greatly influenced Hara in choosing to take her own life”.

Choi is currently facing five charges, including violating the Special Act on the Punishment of Sexual Violence, causing injury, coercion, intimidation, and destruction to property crimes. He was, however, declared not guilty on the charge for illegal filming during sexual intercourse as the court ruled that it was difficult to judge that the filming was done without consent.

Choi’s appeal trial is scheduled to take place on 15 Oct.

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