The Korea Herald


Olympic medalist ‘tricked’ by fiance-turned-stalker

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Oct. 26, 2023 - 10:58

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Nam Hyun-hee (Newsis) Nam Hyun-hee (Newsis)

Former Olympic medalist Nam Hyun-hee said Thursday that she had been deceived by Jeon Cheong-jo, who was engaged to the 42-year-old fencer before being revealed as a con artist.

Nam, who became the first South Korean woman to win a fencing Olympic medal by winning silver in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said in a media interview that she learned Wednesday that her boyfriend had swindled money from her acquaintances.

She said Jeon instigated everything in their relationship, including their marriage, and even tricked her into believing that she was pregnant.

Jeon supposedly showed her positive pregnancy tests, despite this being impossible as he was transgender.

In a subsequent interview with local media, Nam said that she had known that Jeon had had sex reassignment surgery. When asked why she thought she could get impregnated by a transgender man, who cannot produce sperm, Nam said she "thought it was strange."

Nam left Jeon for her mother’s home after the revelation, but Jeon went there around 1 a.m. of Thursday and continued to try to meet her, repeatedly pounding on doors and ringing the bell.

Jeon was arrested by police on suspicion of stalking, and was released around 6:30 a.m. after questioning.

Nam, who was a beloved sports figure, making occasional TV appearances, announced Monday that she planned to marry Jeon in January. But suspicions surrounding the high-profile wedding surfaced almost immediately, from allegations that Jeon was a fraud with multiple convictions for extortion, to his past before his gender transition.

Court verdicts revealed by local media showed that Jeon had swindled money out of other women in the past on multiple occasions. In 2019, she pretended to be the extramarital son of Philip Jeon, the head of a local casino and resort conglomerate Paradise Group.

It appears that the same methods were used to target the two-time Olympic medalist. In an anonymous post made online Tuesday, a person claimed that he or she was hired to pose as a reporter, asking questions to the Nam-Jeon couple under the pretense of believing Jeon had links with the Paradise Group.

Jeon's false status as an “extramarital son of a wealthy man” has been supported by Nam herself, who had stood by the con artist and vowed to take firm action against what they claimed were groundless rumors.

In a media interview late Wednesday, Jeon said she “wanted to live a happy life with Hyun-hee,” but the situation had made her believe it was not possible.

He denied all rumors, but abruptly left around midnight because he had “something important to do,” barely an hour before he started pounding on the door of his former fiance.