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Sunday, September 24, 2023

O Yeong-su of ‘Squid Game’ denies all sexual assault charges at trial

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Actor O Yeong-su leaves the Seongnam Branch of Suwon District Court in Gyeonggi on Friday after wholly denying his sexual harassment charges. [YONHAP]
Actor O Yeong-su leaves the Seongnam Branch of Suwon District Court in Gyeonggi on Friday after wholly denying his sexual harassment charges. [YONHAP]

“Squid Game” star O Yeong-su, 78, wholly denied his sexual assault charges during his first trial on Friday at the Seongnam branch of Suwon District Court in Gyeonggi.

Refuting claims that O nonconsensually groped and kissed the alleged victim while the two were outside, O’s lawyer said that “it is true that he went on a walk with her, but he does not admit to the charges.”

O was indicted in November last year when a then-member of a theater troupe, which O was also in, alleged that O sexually assaulted her in September 2017.

Her lawyer claimed that O “took advantage of his superior position and experience in the troupe to sexually harass the victim more than once.”

The lawyer continued, “When my client confronted Mr. O and demanded an apology from him after the incident, he admitted his wrongs. However, now he is denying all charges and my client is thus suffering additional pain. Even now, she is engulfed in trauma as Mr. O fails to show any remorse for his crimes.”

As O was leaving the court, he again contested, telling the local press gathered outside that “he did hold her hand” but he “did not sexually assault her.”

The next trial is scheduled for April 14. It will resume closed-door.

O, whose real name is Oh Se-kang, majored in theater at Dongguk University and debuted as an actor in 1963. The actor debuted on the silver screen in the 1965 “The Seashore Village” and was also in director Kim Ki-duk’s “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” (2003). He was largely known for his theater work until he was cast as player No. 1, also known as Oh Il-nam, in “Squid Game.”

The actor won a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Supporting Role for his role in “Squid Game” in January this year.

The alleged victim reportedly filed a complaint with the police against O in December 2021, but the cased closed in April last year without any charges brought against O.

In November, the prosecution reopened the investigation as she appealed.

BY LEE JIAN [lee.jian@joongang.co.kr]