Goo Hara Fans Petition for Further Investigation Into Sexual Assault Allegations Against Ex-Boyfriend Choi Jong-bum

Local police have released a statement regarding the death of K-pop star Goo Hara, confirming "there are no suspicions of crime" and that a note handwritten by Hara was found in her living room. The contents of the note have not been revealed.

The former member of K-pop girl group Kara was found dead in her home in the Cheongdam neighborhood of Seoul on Sunday.

"Yesterday (November 24), around 6 p.m., Goo Hara's housekeeper discovered her. Based on an on-site inspection and testimony from her family, there are no suspicions of a crime," Commissioner Lee Yong Pyo of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency confirmed in a statement.

"Based on the analysis of CCTV footage, we have confirmed that she returned home on November 24 at approximately 12:35 a.m. [local time], so it is presumed that she passed away after that time.

"The housekeeper had maintained a close relationship with Goo Hara for a long time. She went to her home after she attempted to contact Goo Hara and received no response," he added.

"There was a hand-written note found on a table in her living room.

"We will decide after consulting with the prosecution while considering her family's opinion and the results of the on-site inspection. Nothing has been decided as of now," he said in the statement.

News of Hara's death has triggered renewed outrage among fans over previous sexual assault allegations against Hara's ex-boyfriend Choi Jong-bum, against whom Hara filed a lawsuit in 2018 for allegedly threatening to release a video recording of the couple having sex.

Choi was found guilty of physical assault, threatening behavior and the use of unnecessary force as well as property damages, but not found guilty of sexual assault, according to the ruling by the Seoul District Court (via Allkpop).

Fans have taken to social media to express their renewed concern and outrage towards the former South Korean international soccer player, calling for further investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Hara, using the Korean hashtag #최종범_처벌 [#Punish_Choi Jong-bum], which has been trending in South Korea on Twitter.

"Hara's ex choi jong bum only received a suspended sentence after verbally, physically and sexually abusing her. he is a criminal and deserves stronger punishment. hara's health had declined and she lost her best friend. it's too late but she deserves justice #최종범#최종범_처벌," wrote @nunuseokie.

Hara of Kara in Seoul in 2013
Hara of South Korean girl group Kara attends during Kara's 4th album "Full Bloom" showcase at the Uniqlo-AX Hall on September 2, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. Getty Images

"Kpop stans, let's help bring Goo Hara's sexual abuser to jail. Their case is still ongoing and the pig is still roaming free. We might be too late to save Hara, but we can at least help bring justice for her & all the abused women out there. Use the hashtag: #최종범_처벌," wrote @bpteaparty.

"I'm so heartbroken and mad that she [Hara] had to suffer through so much in this life. The fact that he is not in jail is a crime in itself. #RIPGooHara #최종범_처벌," wrote @elizabethashw12.

"This is the man that k*lled Goo Hara. He raped her, both physical and psychologically abused her. He extorted her with a sexual video taken with a hidden camera. He beat her up until she had an uterine hemorrhage. In her name, never forget this monster choi jong bum. #최종범_처벌," claimed @taymiIabts.

"I'm not living in a society where an abuser, a black mailer, a bully... a criminal will walk free when the person he did all these horrible things to is gone. This is not ok. It wasn't ok. And it will never be ok. #최종범 #최종범_처벌," wrote @IzanamiMayumi.

Choi has yet to respond to the recent allegations made by fans on social media. He reportedly switched his social media accounts to private mode following the news of Hara's death on Sunday.

Back in September, Choi appealed the ruling by the Seoul District Court in a bid to reduce his prison sentence.

Newsweek has contacted the Korea Football Association, the governing body in charge of soccer in the country, for a comment regarding the recent sexual assault allegations.

Earlier this year, Choi issued an apology for his actions while simultaneously promoting the opening of a new hair salon, an act that also drew sharp criticism from fans of Hara.

"I plan to live the rest of my life reflecting on my mistakes that worried my colleagues at the hair salon who trusted me, people who have shown me their support, and my family," Choi said in the statement, Asian pop culture news website Asian Junkie reported in May.

"With this state of mind, I will be opening a new hair salon, for which I prepared for a long time with support and help from people around me. I'm still lacking in many aspects, but just as I've always done, I will continue to do my best with my job. I would like to ask for forgiveness from those who have cherished me by doing my best in my place with more maturity not only for myself, but for those working at the salon, my family, and close acquaintances. Once again, I sincerely apologize to everyone who felt uncomfortable because of me," he added.

Back in June, a petition calling for the government to "rearrange sentencing criteria for offender-centered sex crimes" and "to realign all perpetrator-centered sex crime sentencing standards" was posted on the National Civil Bulletin Board of the website of the Cheong Wa Dae, the executive office and official residence of the South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

The online petition was reported to have been supported by 143,229 people at 10 p.m. (local time) on November 24, following the news of Hara's death, according to 여성신문, a South Korean magazine promoting women's rights and gender equality. The petition's total number of supporters has now surpassed 208,700.

Hara's Korean management agency, 8D Creative, has released details of a public memorial venue where fans can pay tribute to the late singer on November 27, while Hara's personal friends and family members will pay their respects in a private funeral service at Yonsei Severance Hospital Funeral Hall at 8 a.m. (local time). The public have been warned by the agency to respect the family's privacy and refrain from visiting the location of the private funeral.

"Fans and members of the press will be able to pay their respects to [Goo Hara] in Hall 1 at St. Mary's Funeral Hall in the Gangnam District starting from 3 p.m. [local time] today [Monday] to midnight on November 27," the agency confirmed in a statement.

"In accordance with the wishes of the family, who hoped to hold a quiet funeral, we have arranged for a separate location [for fans] to pay their respects.

"To allow the deceased to make a peaceful departure, we urge you to refrain from visiting the Yonsei Severance Hospital Funeral Hall, where the family will be holding their private funeral."

The company also released a separate statement regarding speculation around Hara's death.

K-pop Goo Hara Fan Memorial Seoul Hospitial
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. Getty Images

"Currently, the family members of the deceased, as well as her friends and acquaintances, are going through a tough time from psychological impact and instability. Therefore, we earnestly ask that media outlets and their related personnel, as well as the fans' condolence calls, refrain from spreading rumors or speculative reports," the company said in the statement.

The news of the recent death comes just over a month after the death of K-pop star Sulli, a former member of the South Korean girl band f(x) who was found dead at the age of 25 in the city of Seongnam of the Gyeonggi province of South Korea.

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours, every day.

Goo Hara Fans Petition for Further Investigation Into Sexual Assault Allegations Against Ex-Boyfriend Choi Jong-bum | News