Author’s wages to be garnished to compensate ‘comfort women’

February 17, 2016
Park Yu-ha

Professor Park Yu-ha

By Lee Kyung-min

Professor Park Yu-ha’s wages will be partly seized starting this month after a district court accepted a request from former sex slaves for compensation for defamation.

On Tuesday, the Seoul Western District Court ordered Sejong University to partly seize her wages until she paid 90 million won ($74,000) to the victims in compensation for causing them emotional distress due to her controversial book “Comfort Women of the Empire.”

At the first trial, the court found Park guilty of defaming the sex slavery victims.

The university said it sent an e-mail notifying Park that more than half of her wages will be deducted by the court order.

Nine former sex slavery victims have sought compensation after the court ordered the 59-year-old author to pay the amount in compensation for incurring emotional distress last month.

Earlier, the nine filed the defamation suit against Park over the degrading depiction of them as “voluntary prostitutes,” as well as characterizing the relationship between some of the former sex slaves and Japanese soldiers as “comrade-like.”

The district court earlier ordered the publisher to revise 38 such sections which it recognized as defamatory against the women. The newer version of the book was published with such revisions in place.

In response, Park expressed anger, saying that she will change her attitude toward the issue.

“Members of House of Sharing are increasing their efforts to hurt my reputation far more than what I have been expecting,” she wrote on social media.

House of Sharing is a non-governmental organization representing former sexual slavery victims. All nine plaintiffs are its members.

“On this occasion, I cannot but admit that I have been too naive,” she added.

“I will definitely change my attitude toward the court disputes from now on. At this point, it is for me, but in the long term, it would be to prevent the elderly victims from hurting others.”

The first pre-trial proceeding for her trial for the criminal defamation charge was held on Jan. 20, during which she requested her case be a Citizens’ Participation for a Criminal Trial, similar to a jury trial.

Since Feb. 1, Park has been distributing the revised version of the book online free of charge at http://parkyuha.org.

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