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Star baduk player accused of rape

Sport has been mired in allegations of sexual misconduct
Apr 19,2018
A baduk player from Hungary who competes in Korea revealed in an online forum for professional players on Tuesday that she was raped by a star Korean player at his home in 2009.

Baduk, also known as Go, is one of the world’s oldest board games. It is often compared to chess and has a dedicated following in Korea, where the game of strategy is likened to a sport.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote on the forum that Kim Seong-ryong, a top-level baduk player, invited her to his home on June 5, 2009. “I drank a bit too much while waiting for my friend to get there too, and decided to sleep over his place as [Kim] suggested,” the woman recalled. “When I woke up, all my clothes were taken off and he was on top of me. I opened my eyes to him raping me.”

A week later, Kim showed up outside her apartment in a drunken state and asked to meet her. “Thankfully, nothing happened that day,” the woman wrote, “but I constantly checked to see if I locked my door and couldn’t sleep until the morning.”

Kim is a 9-dan player, the highest level one can attain in baduk. He shot to fame when he placed second in the KBS competition Baduk Wang in 1995. In 2004, he won the ET Land Cup.

The woman accusing Kim of rape said she initially wanted to keep the story to herself but decided to come forward after seeing the Me Too movement grow in Korea.

“For the past nine years, while I was suffering by myself, Kim went on to be in charge of all things related to baduk,” she wrote on the forum. “During the nine years, I kept trying to avoid him. Today, he still smiles as he greets me and I don’t think he knows how afraid I was during that time and how I’ve suffered over the years.”

Kim currently serves as a public relations manager for the Korea Baduk Association, coaches in the Korean Baduk League and provides commentary on TV Baduk, a channel that covers professional matches.

The woman said she wanted to reveal Kim’s “true face” and hoped no one else would have to go through the trauma she experienced. She told the JoongAng Ilbo in an interview that it was difficult for her to reveal her story online and requested anonymity.

Kim has not made a public response to the post.

The Korea Baduk Association is already in hot water over a sexual misconduct case involving its members. On April 4, a professional player said on the same forum that one of her male peers in a baduk club installed a video camera in the women’s bathroom.

“Although the club confirmed that the video camera was installed in the women’s bathroom, authorities tried to hush everyone up and move on,” the post read.

On Tuesday, the association’s steering committee held an emergency meeting after the rape allegation against Kim surfaced. It plans to form an ethics committee to oversee sexual misconduct cases and hold rape prevention classes.

BY CHUNG A-RAM [song.hankyul@joongang.co.kr]