He has lengthy been thought to be among the best stage actors in South Korea, showing in additional than 200 productions since 1968 and profitable quite a few awards. In 2021, he rocketed to worldwide fame after portraying Oh Il-nam, the wily, older contestant within the Netflix smash hit “Squid Recreation.”

On Friday, he’ll go on trial on fees of indecent assault. If convicted, he can be the newest instance of how South Korea has tried to crack down on intercourse crimes because the nation continues to grapple with the reverberations of the #MeToo motion.

Prosecutors charged Oh Younger-soo, 78, in November, after a lady filed a criticism accusing him of inappropriately touching her in 2017. If a district decide in Suwon, about 20 miles south of Seoul, convicts Mr. Oh, he would face imprisonment for as much as 10 years or a fantastic of as much as about $12,000.

Few extra info are identified concerning the case and the incident. Courtroom paperwork are unavailable by regulation and the authorities have declined to supply extra particulars concerning the accuser, citing their coverage to not disclose any details about victims of intercourse crimes.

Mr. Oh has denied any wrongdoing, however he has already confronted fallout since being charged. He has been excluded from the forged of a South Korean play known as “Love Letter,” wherein he was scheduled to carry out on Jan. 14. The nation’s Tradition Ministry has additionally stopped airing a authorities industrial that had featured him.

“I rushed to request replacements as quickly as I heard the information,” stated Lim Dong-sik, the pinnacle of promoting on the broadcasting community sponsoring the play wherein Mr. Oh had been forged. Mr. Lim added that the allegations had tarnished Mr. Oh’s fame.

Final yr, Mr. Oh turned the primary South Korean to win a Golden Globe, for finest supporting actor. He additionally was nominated for an Emmy for his efficiency in “Squid Recreation,” a dystopian drama that chronicles South Koreans down on their luck who be a part of a secretive, lethal contest in hopes of profitable a life-changing fortune.

The present struck a pop-culture nerve worldwide — changing into Netflix’s most watched new collection ever — and featured Mr. Oh portraying Oh Il-nam, an older competitor generally known as “Participant 001” within the sport. Netflix didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark.

Prosecutors in Suwon pressed fees on Nov. 25 after initially dropping the case. A police station in Seongnam, a close-by metropolis, had initially acquired the criticism from the girl in December 2021 and had instantly begun investigating the case, stated Jang Shin-mo, a division chief on the station. That station despatched the case to the prosecutors in February 2022, however the authorities determined to not press fees two months later, Ms. Jang stated.

The lady appealed and requested the police to reopen the case in Could, Ms. Jang stated. After gathering extra proof, prosecutors pressed fees final November.

Folks convicted of indecent assault in South Korea grow to be registered intercourse offenders who’re monitored by police even after finishing their jail phrases. First-time offenders can obtain diminished sentences, equivalent to 5 years, or just a fantastic.

Within the wake of the fees, Mr. Oh had grow to be a very poor match to seem within the play “Love Letter,” stated Mr. Lim, the promoting govt. The play is a romance that includes a pair of actors who take turns studying love letters to one another. Every character is married to another person, however they alternate intimate letters all through the span of their lives.

Mr. Lim stated his firm had determined to drop Mr. Oh from the play the day the fees have been introduced. Mr. Oh and the opposite actor who had been scheduled to seem as a pair have been changed by two different performers.

After the Tradition Ministry canceled the federal government commercials that includes Mr. Oh, it stated in an announcement that it had accomplished so to keep away from “pointless controversy.” The emailed assertion didn’t explicitly point out the accusations towards Mr. Oh. The adverts, which had promoted regulatory reform, disappeared from authorities web sites, official social media channels and subway stations solely 11 days after they went up.

All through his profession, Mr. Oh has performed supporting roles in movie and tv, together with a component as an getting old Buddhist monk within the 2003 romance movie “Spring, Summer time, Fall, Winter … and Spring.” That portrayal earned him the moniker “monk actor,” a job he would reprise in different movies, tv reveals and commercials.

Over the previous 5 years, a nascent #MeToo motion in South Korea has led to accusations of sexual abuse towards an array of outstanding males, lots of whom have been highly effective figures within the leisure business. A number of have apologized or resigned; a couple of have been convicted of rape and different intercourse crimes and sentenced to prolonged jail phrases.

In South Korea, the authorized threshold required to earn a conviction for a intercourse crime is excessive. Prosecutors should show that drive or the specter of drive was current when the sexual act was dedicated. However in recent times, some have known as for a softening of the regulation; ladies’s rights teams have argued that prosecutors ought to be capable of earn sex-crime convictions just by proving {that a} sufferer didn’t present consent.

Securing proof in indecent assault instances may pose challenges, stated Chang Dahye, a analysis fellow on the Korean Institute of Criminology and Justice. However courts have usually dominated in favor of the prosecution in indecent assault instances in South Korea. Prosecutors right here have the only authority to determine whether or not to cost a suspect, and they’re unlikely to take action until they consider they’ve sufficient proof to win, Ms. Chang added.

The conviction charge of prosecuted intercourse crime instances, she stated, is greater than 80 p.c.

Matt Stevens contributed reporting from Seoul.