By Park Si-soo
Just a few days after top actress Moon Geun-young
wowed fans with the surprise revelation of her secret donations to the poor, she has fallen victim to malicious comments on the Internet.
The Community Chest, a leading charity group here, last week announced a list of its top individual donors revealing the No. 1 giver's name as an "anonymous actress in her 20s" who has donated more than 850 million won ($597,000) over the past five years.
Despite the actress's requests to keep her name secret, the charity group, after being harassed by the press, finally confirmed the 21-year-old donor was Moon.
Following the revelation, however, she was subject to cyber attacks by people who called her donations politically motivated. Her private blog and articles praising her behavior were bombarded with numerous nasty comments belittling the donations as a way to enhance her reputation and her career.
Also, a conservative columnist claimed Moon's donations promoted communism in Korea, citing her late grandfather's pro-North activities. Her late grandfather Ryu Nak-jin was a pro-communism guerrilla in the South during and after the Korean War (1950-1953) and refused to convert right up to his death in 2005.
In an article, Ji Man-won, said, "This is part of communist-led psychological warfare aimed to beautify a descendant of the communist. Articles speaking highly of her donations help make people respect communists as activists striving to reunite the two Koreas".
In reaction to the cyber bullying, the opposition Democratic Labor Party made a rare statement calling for it to end. "Her grandfather was a victim of our heart-wrenching history. We should not take it as a means to criticize those with different ideology", it said.
Her agency vowed to take a wait-and-see approach.
Legal experts said those producing such malicious comments can be punished.
"If an article was written apparently to insult a specific individual, the writer can be punished even if the article doesn't include any type of abusive language", said Prof. Park Kyung-sin at Korea University's college of law.
Meanwhile, Gangnam Police Station is gathering information on the malicious writers for an investigation at Moon's request.