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    Mar 07, 2014

    Contestant in Korea matchmaking show kills herself


    A TOP South Korean television station faced a storm of media criticism yesterday, following the shock suicide of a female contestant on a popular reality matchmaking show known for putting its contestants under intense emotional pressure.

    The contestant on Jjak (The Mate) - a show aired on SBS, one of South Korea's top three TV stations - was found dead on Wednesday during a week-long production shoot at a guesthouse in the southern island of Jeju.

    The 29-year-old, surnamed Chun, appeared to have hanged herself with a hair-dryer cord, police said, adding that she left a note saying she didn't want to live any more.

    "I can't stop crying. My life has been full of drama, and I want to end it here," the police cited the note as saying.

    The weekly show puts about 10 men and women in the same guesthouse, dubbed "Lovetown", for a week while they are filmed by TV crew and surveillance cameras.

    The participants, clad in matching uniforms, are put through various physical challenges in hopes of getting a date out of one of their fellow contestants, before making a final choice at the end of the week.

    Ms Chun's mother told the JoongAng Ilbo daily that her daughter, in their last phone conversation, had said that she would not be able to live in South Korea if the show was aired.

    Seoul's top daily, Chosun Ilbo, highlighted text messages that Ms Chun had exchanged with friends, saying the producers had shot "too many scenes of me being highlight matched couples".

    SBS cancelled the scheduled screening of the show on Wednesday and issued an apology to viewers and Ms Chun's family, but did not accept any direct responsibility for her suicide.

    The police said they were investigating whether the show and its producers had played any role in Ms Chun's decision to take her own life, and were examining video footage recorded in the past week.