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Han Hyo Joo's Blackmailers Receive Only A Suspended Sentence

BY Joan MacDonald | Jan 15, 2014 01:51 PM EST


After threatening to blackmail the family of Han Hyo Joo and extorting money from her father, the star's three former managers walked away with only a suspended sentence.

Last November, the actress' ex-managers took 20 photos from her digital camera. Among the photos were some of the actress and her boyfriend. The blackmailers approached her father and demanded a ransom for the photos

The blackmailers wanted about $20,000 for each photo, for a total of $400,000, or they would expose the star.

"If you don't give us the money, we will send the photos to the reporters," they threatened.

Han Hyo Joo's father wondered how embarrassing the photos might be and perhaps the blackmailers hoped he did not actually ask his daughter about them. But he did. And they were not scandalous.

According to her agency BH Entertainment, Han Hyo Joo's father went straight to his daughter and asked if she had done anything to be ashamed of. She said no.

The family promptly reported the incident to the Seoul Prosecutor's Office. At the suggestion of the prosecutor's office, Han Hyo Joo's father sent the blackmailers $10,000 with a promise to send them more money.  The prosecutors traced the call and arrested the culprits shortly thereafter.

Further investigation into the case discovered that the three men conspired to blackmail the actress when they were facing financial difficulties. But there was nothing to blackmail her about.

A court statement about the actress said she had done nothing to merit criticism.

 "She has actively participated in the investigation and the arrest of the criminals," read the statement. "We will be taking strong action against these threats."
On Jan. 14, The Seoul Central District Court sentenced the former managers to suspended prison sentences ranging from six to ten months, with two years' probation for each manager.

A statement from the court read, "It's a malicious act to threaten a family member of a well-known celebrity with questionable photos. We have also taken into account the possible emotional hurt suffered by the victim. But considering that all the photos were accounted for, and Han Hyo Joo reached a settlement with her former managers, while the suspects demonstrated a positive attitude in admitting to their guilt, we decided to give them a light sentence."

Han Hyo Joo appeared as Choi Dong Yi in the drama "Dong Yi" and starred in the 2013 film "Cold Eyes."

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