Actress' phone tapped by Sidus HQ agency

Police arrest detective who was working for talent agency

UPDATED 4:30PM Seoul time, Friday 23 Jan. 2009

SEOUL -- One of South Korea's best known actresses, Jun Ji-hyun, the star of "My Sassy Girl," had her mobile phone calls and text messages tapped by Sidus HQ, one of the nation's largest entertainment agencies, police in the capital confirmed Thursday.

"We have confirmed both through Jun and her mobile phone company that her phone had been duplicated," local police said in an interview with the Yonhap News agency.

The police arrested a South Korean private detective identified only by his surname, Kim, who is responsible for duplicating Jun's mobile phone at the request of the Seoul-based agency's head, Jeong Hun-tak.

Kim told police that he had met with Jeong and three other staffers from Sidus in November 2007 concerning secret access to Jun's text messages. In exchange, Kim said he was paid 6.4 million won ($4,655). He was arrested for violation of the Communications Privacy Act, which protects the individual's privacy from electronic interception.

Jun shot to fame around Asia in for her role in "My Sassy Girl," which won Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2003.

The allegation over Jun's tapped phone spread via local media earlier this week when police made a visit to the agency's headquarter in Seoul on Monday, seizing the company's computer hard drives and related documents over the course of two hours.

One local entertainment industry insider guessed that the agency may have tapped Jun's phone to find out whether the actress was secretly in contact with other management firms prior to her contract with Sidus ending in February.

Sidus HQ also has offices in Beijing.