Jang Ja Yeon’s Ex-Boyfriend: “I Have Never Heard Of Yoon Ji Oh”
The late actress Jang Ja Yeon’s ex-boyfriend has spoken up following the decision of the Ministry of Justice’s Committee of Past Affairs that no further investigation should be carried out regarding Jang Ja Yeon’s sexual abuse case.
A 39-year-old man identified as “Choi” stated that he dated Jang Ja Yeon for about a year until a month before her death in March 2009. Following her death, Choi participated in a series of questioning by the police as a testifier based on messages and call records that were exchanged between him and the actress.
On May 23, news outlet SBS funE released an interview that Choi recently participated in, during which he talked about the actress.
He stated that when Jang Ja Yeon died by suicide after telling him, “I’m sorry, I can only say that I’m sorry to you” the day before, he felt guilty for not being able to protect the actress. In addition, he shared that he did not want to mention the actress’s name in public out of respect for her family.
During the interview, Choi said, “I recently read an article about an actress who argues that she was good friends with [Jang Ja Yeon]. While hearing her say things like ‘I think [Jang Ja Yeon] was sexually abused’ and, ‘She may have been drugged,’ I thought she was crossing the line. The least I can do is prevent further defamation of [Jang] Ja Yeon.”
Choi continued, “[Jang] Ja Yeon, who was the same age as me, had pride in herself and was bright. We met five times a week, went to each other’s houses, and I even met [Jang] Ja Yeon’s sister and brother at her house many times.”
He added, “Around the time we broke up, [Jang] Ja Yeon was taking pills for sleep deprivation and frequently said things like, ‘I’m exhausted’ and, ‘I want to die.’ We met up and exchanged phone calls even after we broke up. When she asked, ‘Where should I die?’ I could only respond, ‘Don’t do that.’ I was shocked when I heard that she died at a location that she had previously mentioned [to me].”
This is the first time Choi has publicly spoken up about the late actress. He continued to explain, “The [Jang] Ja Yeon that I knew would never sexually entertain anyone for money. She was better off than most people her age. She did have to immediately change into different clothes and leave for meetings with people at her company even when we were hanging out together, but [Jang] Ja Yeon considered that as part of her duty as an actress.”
Choi elaborated, “I had taken her back home to Bundang after her meetings a few times. Other times, she texted me, ‘My manager is coming to pick me up. I’ll come to your house after the meeting.’ We exchanged simple conversations just like any other couples. I don’t remember a time our conversation was cut off for a long time. Our friends and I find it difficult to believe the statement ‘Jang Ja Yeon was high on drugs.'”
Because they had been broken up, Choi stated that he did not know about Jang Ja Yeon’s whereabouts in the month prior to her death.
Choi shared, “Before we broke up, [Jang] Ja Yeon said that she was having a hard time because of some problems with her agency. I asked her if she needed help with finding a new agency, but she refused. [Jang] Ja Yeon had a big dream of wanting to grow as an actress. Many people who started their careers in the entertainment industry around the same time as her had already become stars, and when they took on good roles, [Jang Ja Yeon] expressed that she was upset.”
Choi further stated, “She said that she was under a lot of pressure because she had to look for another role after ‘Boys Over Flowers.’ She was having a hard time due to sleep deprivation, and she called me and expressed her concerns while under the influence of her pills. Even then she said, ‘I love my sister and brother so much that I cannot die.'”
While Choi said he would like to know the truth behind the death of the late actress more than anyone, he cannot trust the words of Yoon Ji Oh that are being published through news outlets.
“I couldn’t contact [Jang Ja Yeon’s family] after the funeral, but I’m sure they feel the same way I do,” continued “Choi.” “I can’t read an article if it mentions [Jang] Ja Yeon’s name because I get scared. But this person named Yoon Ji Oh, who has no idea of what was going around at the time, is making detrimental statements about Jang Ja Yeon such as [Jang Ja Yeon] being drugged and sexually abused and having to sexually entertain [figures] and by serving drinks.”
Choi concluded, “I, as well as those who were very close to [Jang] Ja Yeon, have never heard of [Jang] Ja Yeon mentioning Yoon Ji Oh’s name before. But for Yoon Ji Oh to publish a book that mentions [Jang Ja Yeon’s] name and produce merchandise? That’s a cruel thing to do. Everyone who was close to Jang Ja Yeon and questioned as a testifier has never been threatened nor followed.”
Jang Ja Yeon passed away in March 2009, and her death was ruled as a suicide. She is said to have left behind a final document revealing that she had been forced to sexually entertain powerful figures in the business and media industries. At the time, the police cleared about 10 names charged for sexual abuse that were mentioned in the actress’s list, and the case ended with only her agency CEO and manager being charged for assault and defamation.
The Investigative Team of Past Affairs began a reinvestigation into several suspicions surrounding her case on April 2, 2018. On May 13, the team’s final report was submitted to the Ministry of Justice’s Committee of Past Affairs.
On May 20, the Committee of Past Affairs concluded that it was difficult to confirm the existence of the final document of Jang Ja Yeon and that the lack of evidence and the statute of limitations were serious obstacles in the case to carry out further investigation.
However, the Committee of Past Affairs recommended that prosecutors reinvestigate the former CEO of Jang Ja Yeon’s agency, Kim Jong Seung, on suspicions of false testimony.
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