Doctored image of South Korean justice minister 'wearing a pink coat' misleads online

A doctored photo purporting to show South Korea's justice minister Han Dong-hoon in a pink-coloured coat was repeatedly shared in social media posts that criticise him for alleged attention-seeking behaviour. The original image shows Han wearing a beige overcoat a day after his nomination as justice minister in April 2022.

The doctored photo was shared on Facebook here on January 24, 2023. It shows a man whose face has been blurred who appears to be wearing a pink coat over a suit.

The post's Korean-language caption identifies the man as Han, South Korea's justice minister.

"The justice minister goes to work wearing this?? If this is a real photo and not an altered one, he is certainly a psycho," it reads.

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post. Captured January 25, 2023.

Han is a close confidante of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol with the two having previously worked together as state prosecutors.

After his election, Yoon picked Han as his administration's first justice minister on April 14, 2022 despite strong backlash from the political opposition.

Han's high-profile status in the Yoon administration has garnered much attention from South Korean media, with some organisations publishing reports about his fashion sense here and here.

An identical photo was also shared on Facebook here and here and on Twitter.

Several comments to the posts suggest some social media users thought the photo was genuine.

"Is the minister holding a fashion show?" one wrote.

"He thinks he is a celebrity just because the media props him up," another said.

Through a Google reverse search, AFP found the genuine image of Han published by the South Korean newswire service Yonhap News on April 15, 2022, the day after he was nominated justice minister.

It shows Han wearing a beige overcoat. The image's caption reads, "Justice minister nominee Han Dong-hoon goes to work at his office at the Seoul High Prosecutor's Office on the morning of the 15th. 2022.4.15."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the doctored photo (left) and the original image of Han published by Yonhap News (right):

Screenshot comparison of the doctored image shared on Facebook (left) and the original photo of Han published by Yonhap News (right)

Other pictures of Han going to work that day published by Yonhap News here, here and here show the justice minister wearing a beige coat.

Han's commute to work that day was widely covered by South Korean media, including broadcaster SBS, which published on YouTube footage of the then-nominee making a statement to the press.

The YouTube clip posted by SBS also shows Han wearing the same beige coat.