A Voyeur Filmed Me Sleeping

A Voyeur Filmed Me Sleeping

After purchasing an iPhone 5s upon my arrival in Korea, I noticed the shutter sound wouldn’t turn off. Confused as to what why, I returned to the store to fix the issue. The staff informed me that all phones made in Korea are required to make that sound.

At the time, I didn’t think much of it, and chalked it up to another factor that makes Korea such a quirky country. However, when I found out the real reason the shutter sound is so common here, I was incredibly creeped out.

As it turns out, voyeurism is an extreme issue in Korea. So much so, that in 2004, the Korean government issued a mandate that rendered it impossible for consumers to disable the shutter sound feature on their smart phone cameras.

These days, offenders can easily purchase hidden cameras in their respective neighborhoods which come disguised as items such as shirt buttons, wristwatches, eyeglasses, pens, remote controls and USB memory sticks.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t using their smartphones.

Six months after purchasing my phone, I returned back from a relaxing summer vacation in Vietnam, feeling happy and excited to see my boyfriend. It had been a long week for the both of us (I got stranded in Macau on my way back to Seoul), so we decided to get dinner somewhere close to my apartment.

We decided to call it a night early, so we headed back to my apartment, unaware of what was to come. After finishing our nightly routines, I closed the window and turned on the air conditioner in an attempt to combat the muggy outside air that had permeated through the apartment all evening. As always, the two of us drifted into a deep slumber, holding one another close.

Around 3:30 that morning, I woke up to a muffled sound just outside my window followed by a series of bright flashes. My consciousness shot me up out of bed, and in my groggy and confused state, I shook my boyfriend awake.

“What’s that?!” he screamed.

“What?” I replied, confused by his response.

“THAT!” he shouted, and directed my attention to my window.

My eyes focused on a large hand tightly gripping the window frame. As we sat there, shaking in fear, the person slowly closed the window, then the screen without any panic whatsoever. The way he closed it made me think this wasn’t the first time.

We ran outside to see if we could spot the perpetrator, but he had already fled. Gripped with fear, I found it difficult to sleep through the night.

As soon as I saw any trace of sunshine, we went outside and discovered an alarming number of hand and finger prints along the pipes and ledges leading up to my window. Unsure as to what to do, I contacted every Korean person that I knew, as I would need a translator to be able to properly handle this situation.

I finally got in touch with one of my former colleagues, and she informed me she would be able to help me as soon as she completed her daily errands. My boyfriend and I sat around all afternoon in my house, washing my clothing and bed sheets. I took several showers in an attempt to reduce the feeling of filth.

Once my former colleague finally showed up, she called the police and they arrived in a timely manner. Without any translation from either party, the officers quickly checked out my apartment as well as the exterior and piping.

They informed me that the flash that woke me up was most likely from the man’s camera. Apparently others in my neighborhood had made several complaints about a man filming them sleep, which to this day, makes my skin crawl.

The apartment where it happened. 

Despite knowing this information, less than five minutes into their search, the officers determined that they were unable to do any sort of finger print testing because they “assumed he was wearing gloves.” I also requested they review the CCTV tape that was recently installed outside of my apartment building, but they said there “most likely wasn’t a tape.”

After they left, I felt extremely defeated. I felt let down by the Korean police and their failure to take action.

I still wonder about the incident. How did he manage to climb up 8 feet worth of piping? Was he acting alone or did he have an accomplice? Had he been watching me prior to the incident or was this completely random? Some things in life have no answers.

To this day, I still find it difficult to go to sleep and I have nightmares from time to time. Oh yeah, and I moved to another apartment — about an hour away, and much safer.



  1. August 5, 2015 / 3:02 am

    Eewww…that’s so creepy! I wouldn’t be able to sleep either. It’s too bad that the police weren’t more helpful.

    • August 6, 2015 / 9:51 am

      While Korea has many lovely aspects to it, the police here are not generally known for being helpful whatsoever – especially in expat situations. They just were a bit lazy about it all. They also promised me they would have people patrolling the area every night, but they only did one night and I never saw any patrolling again. Bah humbug!

  2. August 5, 2015 / 5:41 am

    Oh wow, I have goosebumps now. Guess black out curtains are in order… Eeeeek!!!
    I remember how jittery I was one night when I was woken up in the middle of the night with the feeling that someone was outside on my balcony that is connected to my bedroom. They stayed for a few minutes but I was bricking it! And then they left as I heard the water move (I have a pool on my balcony that feeds into the main pool) when he got in. Took me ages to fall asleep again!

  3. nmiller00
    August 5, 2015 / 11:15 am

    Oh wow. How scary!! I hope you are able to put yourself at ease. That experience would creep out anyone.

    • August 6, 2015 / 9:50 am

      I agree! It was definitely an awful thing to happen, but realistically it could have happened anywhere.

  4. August 6, 2015 / 7:10 am

    Oh that’s a sad story to hear. Korea is even one of the places I’d love to visit. Every place really has a dark side. You better lock your windows and have dark curtains.

    • August 6, 2015 / 9:49 am

      Korea is a very lovely place, so I recommend you visit for sure! No matter where you go, there will be people who are just not right in the head. I’ve since moved apartments and have had no problems at all. Thanks for your comment!

  5. August 6, 2015 / 9:25 am

    what the f?! Wow, people are weirdos. I guess it’s a good thing then about the shutter sound, but how crazy that they even have to do that. #showyourbloglove

    • August 6, 2015 / 9:46 am

      Agreed! It’s a bit comforting, but there are applications these days that muffle the shutter sound. Gives me the true heebie jeebies!

  6. August 6, 2015 / 12:58 pm

    What a tarrying experience! I just can’t imagine how scary that would be! I had no idea this was such a problem there!

    • August 6, 2015 / 1:29 pm

      Yep! I just couldn’t believe it and had a “it couldn’t happen to me” mindset for the longest time. Just a shame, really but I still love this place.

  7. August 6, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    Sorry you had to experience that! People these days are so creepy!!! I do not even understand why you would even want to go through all of that to get a tape of people sleeping! So unusual! Glad you are safe and hopefully that will never happen to you again!

  8. August 7, 2015 / 12:12 am

    That is insane & scary!

  9. September 15, 2015 / 7:51 am

    What the actual hell? Oh my god, that’s so creepy and so freakin’ scary. I think I’d be sleeping with lights on after that. Jeez.

  10. October 21, 2015 / 4:20 am

    Wow, that’s so creepy. I am so sorry that happened to you! That would make anyone feel unsafe! That actually happened to me in my first apartment in California…except the guy was trying to break into my bedroom window. And like your experience, the police weren’t very helpful, and that was in my home country! It’s so frightening to have to be on guard all over the world for creepers.

    • lauranalin88@gmail.com
      October 21, 2015 / 8:24 am

      Yeah, it’s super unfortunate to have to be worried about it. I’m sorry that happened to you in the states! My neighbor caught an armed man trying to get into my apartment in Chicago. Luckily he was caught and apprehended and I was thankful the police were so helpful and kind toward me – especially in a city full of crime. I was mainly frustrated with the officers here as I couldn’t properly communicate with them as my Korean isn’t at fluency-level. The widespread issue of on-camera voyerism does creep me out, though. Japan has gone as far as creating women-only trains to alleviate the issue. Heebie jeebies!

  11. October 30, 2015 / 12:09 am

    I’m so sorry about your situation. I’ve been creeped on in Japan too (and in broad daylight) and it was the most disturbing thing that has ever happened. Another girl had a guy masturbate with an open window while looking at her and I’ve had many Japanese guys grope me in the club. I’m glad you’re okay!

  12. December 2, 2015 / 5:11 am

    How awful! What’s worse is that on one was able to do anything! Please lock your windows.

    • December 2, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      Well, the police DEFINITELY could have reviewed the CCTV tapes and did the finger print testing on the piping and windows… but I digress. I’ve moved about an hour away to an apartment that it’s literally impossible for this to ever happen again.

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