|K-pop group Apink's Park Cho-rong is accused of assaulting her childhood friend in high school. Korea Times file|
By Lee Gyu-lee
When Apink member Park Cho-rong's agency Play M Entertainment threatened a criminal lawsuit against Park's childhood friend for defamation and blackmail, April 1, many took it as just another show of force from a celebrity agency trying to take advantage of its influence.
The agency said in a statement that the alleged victim surnamed Kim has been threatening Park's privacy, making up false bullying allegations against her. "Kim used Park Cho-rong's fame as leverage… and coerced her to leave the entertainment industry," it said.
However, the case took a quick turn when Kim filed a counterclaim against Park, Monday, coming forward to say that Park abused her in high school.
Since then, the two have been going back and forth to discredit each other's claims, with disclosures of recordings of their phone conversations to back up the bullying allegation.
Kim leaked the transcript of phone calls between the two to multiple news outlets, Thursday. In the conversation, Kim confronted Park and asked if she remembers the day Park beat her up with her friends in the past.
Park reportedly answered, "Yes. But aside from all that, I should have apologized to you for those things and I'm sorry I didn't…. but I didn't do that to you for no reason."
When Kim told her that she is still traumatized from the abuse, the artist apologized, saying, "I'm truly sorry," and explained that she should have "talked out" any misunderstandings they had.
"I should not have done that… but I think I was just so upset in the moment," she said.
In response to the transcript, Park's agency released a statement saying, Kim only disclosed parts of the conversation and presented the remarks out of context.
It explained that Park was merely apologizing to keep Kim for exposing her private life which is a separate issue from the bullying accusation.
"We also have the transcript of their phone calls and submitted those to police as evidence," it said, adding it will release the records to the public "if needed."
Kim has been claiming that Park and her friends assaulted her in an alley in 2008 when they were 17. The two were friends from elementary school but had grown apart. When they met again in high school, the assault occurred, she said.
"Park slapped my face and kicked my shin after saying 'I don't like you smiling at me,'" she told local news outlets. "The assault resulted in bruises all over my body… and I've been living in the trauma and humiliation even after a decade has passed."
Play M and the artist herself dismissed Kim's claim saying they will do their best to prove her innocence "with witnesses and other evidence to back it up."