South Korea military accused of using dating app to trap gay soldiers

By Elizabeth Shim  |  April 17, 2017 at 1:24 PM
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April 17 (UPI) -- South Korea's military is facing allegations of gay-baiting soldiers through fake accounts on an online dating app.

Lim Tae-hoon, who heads the civic group Center for Military Human Rights, said Monday army investigators used the app to "trap" soldiers into contacting the accounts, then tracking down the individuals, local news service EDaily reported.

"We have secured evidence the army's central investigators used a gay-specialized dating application to employ trap investigation techniques while violating the soldiers' human rights" Lim said. "We will file a petition regarding army chief of staff Gen. Jang Jun-kyu and [three others] with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea."

According to Lim, investigations began after the army claimed a video of a soldier on active duty and an officer having sex surfaced on South Korean social networks.

The army undertook unlawful means of investigating the case in the course of identifying those involved, Lim said.

The military had placed about 40 to 50 soldiers on a list of "suspects" in violation of the Military Criminal Act, according to Yonhap.

The law stipulates a soldier who commits "sodomy" or "other disgraceful conduct" can face a maximum of two years in prison.

But the probe overreached and cast a net that discriminated against suspects, solely based on their sexual orientation, Lim's group said.

One petty officer was placed on the list because a text message that read, "I had a relationship with a fellow soldier" was found on his mobile phone, the group said.

Others were investigated because they had suggested going on a trip together with other gay soldiers in an online chat room.

Another officer, a lieutenant whose name is being withheld, was subject to an unauthorized search of his car.

Investigators eventually returned the confiscated items found in his vehicle.

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