South Korea has blocked the Korean version of the global adultery site Ashley Madison, saying yesterday that it threatened family values in a country where marital infidelity was a crime.
The Korean site of the Canada-based company, which has a slogan of: "Life is short. Have an affair", went online in the middle of last month, attracting close to 50,000 subscribers in its first week.
Under a 1953 statute that criminalises adultery, an unfaithful spouse in South Korea can receive a prison sentence of up to two years for conducting an affair.
The Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), a largely government-appointed body, said the website was an incitement to immorality.
"In light of the legal spirit of relevant laws aimed to protect healthy sexual morals, marriage bonds and family life, KCSC decided to block access to the site which incites adultery," the commission said. "There is a great danger of this site spreading bad behaviour and seriously undermining legal order by aiding or abetting in adultery."
South Korea follows Singapore in blocking Ashley Madison. Singapore barred access in November for similar reasons.
The website is no stranger to Asia, having already launched in Hong Kong, Japan and India.
Chief executive Noel Biderman believes South Korean law is "hopelessly outdated" but still heeded advice not to attend the South Korea launch in person.