Go to contents

Kim Han-sub: “Websites Using My Professional Name Destroyed My Family”

Kim Han-sub: “Websites Using My Professional Name Destroyed My Family”

Posted June. 16, 2005 03:04,   


“Having the reputation that I’ve built over the 50 years of my acting career crushed is nothing. It broke my heart to see my granddaughter cry, saying, ‘My friends teased me that you sold naked women on the internet.’”

“Twist Kim,” or Kim Han-sub, now 69, was beloved for his dance scene in the 60’s movie, “The Young with Naked Feet.”

His eyes turned red with tears at the “Information Communications Ethics and Mature Society conference” hosted by Gathering for a Mature Society, a civic group, at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday while he talked about the “cyber terrorism” perpetrated against him.

Kim found out that his professional name, Twist Kim, was being used as the name of illegal porn sites or their domains. The number of such sites that he himself picked out reached 27.

“At first, I didn’t care, thinking that it was part of being famous. But those around me started getting the wrong idea about me and I even had movie and advertisement contracts cancelled because of the ‘bad impression’ that I supposedly gave. I cried with my wife when an anonymous caller called me during midnight and trash-talked me saying, ‘Could you be any more snobbish?’”

With the help of a friend, Kim reported his case to the prosecutor’s office and police. However, his case was always rejected or dismissed due to a lack of evidence on the grounds that professional names were not subject to exclusive ownership rights or that offending operating server was located overseas.

While Kim tried to figure a way out of the problem, rumors got worse. Moviemakers stopped asking him to be in their films, which virtually drove Kim out of Chungmuro, the Korean Hollywood, and TV stations. As Kim stopped showing up at these places, rumors circulated that “Kim started a business running illegal porn sites.” Some said of Kim’s reporting with the authorities that he had a fight with his business partner while running the porn sites.

Kim and his wife have consulted doctors to treat depression over the past several years. Kim even suffered from facial nerve paralysis caused by insomnia and stress. He became more frail day by day, with treatment failing to soothe the pain in his heart.

In March this year, he even decided to commit suicide, thinking that he “had to relieve his family of the pain.” He thought of his grandchildren but he wrote a note that read, “I will rid myself of this infamy even if it takes my life,” and went to the Han River. Fortunately, his wife found out before it was too late and called the Han River Coast Guard, who stopped Kim. Kim still carries the despair in his heart.

Kim said, “The first problem is that there are such unscrupulous people who do terrible things that hurt others’ lives so much. But another problem is that the government and legal authorities do nothing about cyber terrorism, citing ambiguity of the law. I ask the authorities to take active action to protect those who suffer because of cyber terrorism.”

Yang-Hwan Jung ray@donga.com