A massive fraud in the film industry has been uncovered in South Korea

A massive fraud in the film industry has been uncovered in South Korea
Photo by Stéphan Valentin / Unsplash

South Korea manipulated box office information for years
Allegations of large-scale, multi-year box office fraud have rocked the Korean film industry. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Department's Anti-Corruption Office said Thursday the results of an investigation into 69 executives of the country's largest cinema chains - CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox - and 24 distributors, including Showbox, had been handed over to prosecutors.

Police said the cinema owners colluded with distributors to misrepresent ticket sales data for at least 323 films over the past five years by providing false information to the Korea Film Council, a government body responsible for collecting local box office data.

Law enforcement authorities in Seoul say up to 2.67 million cinema tickets have been forged over the past half decade.

Frauds in the Korean film industry have been known about for a long time
Insiders in the Korean film business say the practice uncovered by police has been a "polishinel secret" in the industry for years. They admit that so-called box office rigging was widely known in the industry and involved distributors and production companies reserving entire blocks of seats in cinemas for promotional purposes. Some say multiplexes often require such arrangements as a precondition for getting access to a screen.