In hidden corners across South Korea, tiny cameras are surreptitiously recording thousands of women when they are at their most vulnerable.
Women have come to fear that cameras could be anywhere: perched inside the toilet bowl of a public restroom, disguised as a smoke detector in a shop’s fitting room, even rolled into a plastic bag at the lip of a trash can.
In Seoul, the capital, the proliferation of such hidden cameras — and the images they record, which often end up on pornographic websites — has often been described by reporters as an epidemic.
The city announced a crackdown on Sunday, increasing the number of municipal employees assigned to search public bathrooms for hidden cameras to 8,000 in October from the 50 currently at work.
“It is to help citizens to feel safe when they use the public restrooms, free from concerns about spy cams,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in a statement.
The city has promised to inspect every one of its 20,554 public restrooms daily, an enormous undertaking that underscores the scope of the problem.