South Korean presidential contender quits politics after rape accusation

2018-03-06 12:22
Ahn Hee-jung, the former South Korean presidential contender who stepped down following rape allegations. (Yonhap/AFP)

Ahn Hee-jung, the former South Korean presidential contender who stepped down following rape allegations. (Yonhap/AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul – A former South Korean presidential contender stepped down as a provincial governor on Tuesday and announced his retirement from politics after a secretary accused him of multiple rapes.

The resignation of Ahn Hee-jung – who came second to Moon Jae-in in the contest to select the Democratic Party's presidential candidate last year – makes him the latest and most prominent figure in a swirling #MeToo movement in what is still a male-dominated society.

READ MORE: Saying 'Me Too' in Japan has risk of being bashed, ignored

One of his secretaries told a television interviewer on Monday that he had raped her four times since hiring her in June.

Kim Ji-eun told JTBC that the last straw came when Ahn called her into his office on the night of February 25 and apologised for having hurt her, talking about the country's ongoing #MeToo movement.

"And then he raped me again," she said, sighing and holding back tears.

She also accused Ahn of sexually assaulting others and said she would file a criminal complaint against him on Tuesday.

Tipped as successor

Following the TV interview, the ruling Democratic Party held an emergency meeting and expelled Ahn with immediate effect.

Hours later, Ahn, 52, announced his resignation as governor of South Chungcheong Province and retirement from public life.

"I apologise to everyone, especially to Miss Kim Ji-eun," he said in a Facebook post.

READ MORE: California #MeToo advocate hit with new claims of misconduct

In the Democratic Party's process to select its presidential candidate last year, Ahn was runner-up to Moon, who went on to win the election in May.

Ahn had been tipped as a front-runner among liberal presidential hopefuls to succeed Moon – who can only serve one term – with South Korean conservatives reeling from the massive corruption scandal that led to the ouster of former president Park Geun-hye.

Moon last month threw his support behind the #MeToo campaign spreading across the country, urging measures to combat the widespread abuse of women and punish offenders.

A growing number of South Korean women have accused prominent figures of sexual abuse, making headlines in a country that remains deeply conservative despite economic and technological advances.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    south korea  |  rape  |  sexual harassment  |  politics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.