SEOUL, South Korea March 10, 2011 -- A Chinese temptress has triggered a sex scandal that is embarassing South Korea's president, caused two Korean officials to resign in disgrace, and reportedly prompted a fistfight between Korean diplomats in their Shanghai consulate.
At the heart of the scandal crowded with lovers and allegations is a Chinese woman named Deng Xinming who appears to have traded sexual favors with South Korea consulate officials in exchange for access to documents and expedited visas for Chinese people she selected.
Photographs of Deng, 33, have been splashed across South Korean newspapers and TV screens along with photos of the men, identified only as P, K and H. Her conquests also allegedly included former consul general Kim Jung Ki.
All of the involved Korean diplomats are under investigation as to whether they used influence to help expedite South Korean visas to eligible and ineligible Chinese citizens and whether they handed over confidential information to Deng.
South Korea's Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan publicly apologized on Wednesday "for causing the people anxieties over an unsavory incident."
The sex scandal is a huge blow to President Lee Myung-bak's administration, whose government has come under fire for allegedly trying to cover up the Shanghai scandal.
Diplomatic sources say Deng is married to a South Korean businessman identified only as Mr. Jin, but she is separated from her husband and living in a posh multi-million dollar neighborhood and is driving a BMW. She has enrolled her children at an international school where tuition costs $30,000 per year, according to Korean media reports.
She also is believed to have significant influence and connections to high-level officials in China. She told P that she is a relative of the late-Deng Xiaoping, China's revolutionary communist leader in the 1970s through the 1990s, according to the newspaper Chosunilbo.
Kim described Deng as an influential woman very close to Shanghai's Communist Party Committee Secretary and Shanghai's mayor, often arranging meetings for Korean government officials and politicians with high profile Chinese officials.
Sex Scandal Roils Shanghai Consulate
The scandal emerged when Deng's husband filed requests with the Korean government for an investigation into public misconduct stemming from his wife's affairs with the diplomats, according to South Korean media reports. He submitted photographs of Deng taken with each of the diplomats as well as files of high-level internal information such as phone numbers of prominent South Koreans that he claims to have found in her USB, the paper said.
Deng's fling with P, described as a 48-year-old official with the Ministry of Foreign Affiars, allegedly started in 2006. She reportedly took up with K, a 42-year-old economic minister, in 2008. H, a 41-year-old Ministry of Justice official, became her lover last year, according to the documents spilled by her husband.
The man identified as K told the newspaper Hankuk Ilbo that he did not have an affair with Deng, but claims the woman spread rumors that K had an affair with H's wife. The rumors apparently resulted in K getting beaten by H inside the consulate, he told the paper.
K also told the newspaper that he submitted to investigators a note he received from Deng threatening to harm his son.
Korean newspapers, however, are showing photographs of a note that K allegedly signed promising to cut off a finger if he stops loving Deng.
So far K and H have resigned, and H has left South Korea for China to join Deng.
Euri Son and Esther Kim contributed to this report