More than 1,500 hotel guests in South Korea were found to be unwitting performers for a community of online voyeurs in rooms carefully rigged with tiny cameras hidden in everyday objects.
Police arrested two men suspected of hooking up 42 rooms in 30 hotels to an online community of 4,099 members, 97 of whom paid for the streaming service, according to local media.
Two other men, thought to have helped by installing the cameras, are also being investigated.
The suspects netted 7 million won (£4,700) from broadcasting the private lives of guests using innocuous household objects, such as hairdryers and TV sets, with tiny cameras installed, police said.
More than 800 illegally filmed videos had been streamed over the months the rooms and site had been operational.
Police in Seoul told CNN that while cases of illegal voyeurism is nothing new, this is the first time they had discovered such footage being broadcast live on the internet.
The case reflects South Korea’s growing cultural problem of voyeurism.
Police regularly scour public toilets and changing rooms using high-tech equipment to detect spycams, while the proliferation of smartphones has only made the situation worse.
Last week Korean pop star Jung Joon-young was questioned over allegations he secretly filmed himself having sex with women without their consent and shared the footage in a mobile chat room.
He today admitted to the charges upon arriving at a hearing to determine whether a warrant should be issued for his arrest.
“I bow my head in apology to the females who were victimised by my actions; to the females who suffered from… rumours online,” he said.
Under the slogan ‘My Life is Not Your Porn’ tens of thousands of women turned out in Seoul last year to protest against spycam sex crimes, as the #MeToo movement gave expression to South Korean women’s rage at being routinely sexually assaulted.
South Korean prosecutor Seo Ji-hyeon was one of the first to speak out, claiming she had been groped by a senior colleague. Her accusation prompted a series of others. Ahn Hee-jung, a former presidential hopeful, was one of those ensnared and last month sentenced to three and a half years in prison for sexual assault.