Police raid Seoul talent agency

Seize disks, documents linked to death of actress

SEOUL-- Korean police have raided the office of talent managers The Contents Entertainment and seized computer hard disks and documents related to the death of TV actress Jang Ja-yeon, the 29-year client who recently committed suicide.

The raid Friday followed the revelation of a note, allegedly hand-written by Jang, saying the agency had pressured her to entertain TV producers and powerful company executives.

"We have secured a document containing details of sexual blackmailing, physical abuse and forced participation in entertainment gatherings allegedly written by the late actress," police told Yonhap News Agency.

The names cited in the note and whether it was in fact written by Jang before her death are subject to further investigation, police said.

Jang, who most recently played Sunny in the hit TV drama "Boys over Flowers," was found dead at her home in a Seoul suburb on Mar. 7.

The note, allegedly written a week before her suicide, was passed to Jang's former manager, identified only as Yoo, who claimed that Jang's former agency is responsible for her death.

Local media initially reported the suicide the result of chronic depression. The agency denied Yoo’s claim, saying the firm had no conflict with the late actress.

The agency could be charged with blackmail, assault and coercion if indicted after the ongoing police investigation.

Last fall, a series of Korean celebrities killed themselves after suffering widespread rumor-mongering on the Web. Their deaths sparked a debate about online freedom of speech and a proposed government crackdown on Web freedoms.
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