English-Speaking Criminal Defense Lawyers in Korea: Defense Lawyers to Hire and Not to Hire?

In all cases, in Korea, where you are accused of a crime and you fear that you may be sentenced to time in jail, may be deported or the conviction may harm your future, hire, quickly, an experienced and proactive English-Fluent Korean criminal defense lawyers prior to any interrogations by the Korean police or prosecution.Sadly, few lawyers, in Korea, are useful for criminal matters, since few lawyers are proactive when it comes to matters concerning the Korean government, experienced in criminal matters for foreigners or willing to upset the status quo (aggressively engage the prosecutor and court). Please do yourself a favor, forgo any options provided at no or low cost unless you have no other options.  The reality is the most important decision you shall make, at this time, is the choice of a lawyer. If you are under SOFA, you may choose any lawyer you want as noted

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Korea’s Criminal Procedure Act: Pre-Trial Detention in Korea

The Korean Criminal Justice System works, in many aspects, very differently from the American Criminal Justice System. One aspect of the system that leaves many of our clients puzzled is the pre-trial detention system in Korea.  Korea’s Criminal Procedure Act Article 92 details the maximum detention periods while the Korean prosecutor’s investigation is pending.  The following does not apply, in many respects, to those under the SOFA: After being arrested, a defendant may be held for up to 48 hours without being officially charged. In the United States, in most cases, a defendant may, only, be held for 24 hours. Depending on the charges in the case, criminal defendants will be held in jail throughout the entirety of the prosecutor’s investigation. The opportunity for bail is very limited. This means that, after the initial hearing in front of a Korean judge an arrest warrant will likely be issued for your

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Deportation after Criminal Conviction in Korea: Korea Immigration Law Basics

Korea’s Immigration Services has increased enforcement/deportation actions against foreigners convicted of crimes.  Upon exit from Korea, the Immigration Service has been instructing individuals to report to Immigration with the written judgment and confirmation that the fine (if any) was paid in full.  These records may be obtained from the Prosecutor’s Office. We advise reporting to Immigration, only, after an attorney reviews the matter and, potentially, writes a legal opinion to the Immigration Services of Korea.  If you live in the majority of the areas of Seoul, you should report to the Enforcement Unit on the 6th Floor of the Mokdong Immigration Office. When choosing to plead guilty to a crime, please be aware that the choice may subject you to deportation.  Immigration has, frequently, deported for fines over KRW 2million and crimes that lead to suspended jail sentences or a greater sentence.  If you attorney advises you to plead guilty

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Preparation for Korean Police & Prosecutor Interrogations & Witness/Defendant Questioning at Korean Courts

All good Korean attorneys prepare all clients for witness questioning & suspect interrogations in Korea.  Clients may be subpoenaed to appear in a Korean police office, Korean prosecutors office or to appear as a witness or a criminal defendant in a Korean Court and should be thoroughly prepared by their attorneys. We at IPG, hear of too many issues of lawyers, only, telling clients to “tell the truth and don’t worry.”  This is, obviously, not adequate witness or suspect preparation.  We see this from Korean law firms large and small.  Thus, the following list was prepared as a basic guide to necessaries prior to coming before a Korean Court, prosecutor or police investigator.  Please retain an attorney that has experience preparing clients for witness questionings and suspect interrogations – it is sad to note that few Korean attorneys have experience preparing even criminal defendants for court.   The reality is, however, that all

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Korea’s Virtual Assets/Cryptocurrency Law

For those who may not know, cryptocurrencies/virtual assets (the best known of them, at the moment, is Bitcoin), are digital representations of value that can be digitally traded or transferred. When holders are using these currencies the transaction, in short, the use is via Blockchains (in short, a decentralized databases). South Korea has been at the forefront of the global cryptocurrency boom and its spread has permeated through all levels of society. Statistics from 2017 show that more than one third of employees in Korea were active investors in various cryptocurrencies. The Seoul City government even launched their own currency called “S-coin” in November of 2019. However, despite all the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies in Korea, the market was almost completely unregulated leaving open the possibility for unchecked money laundering, the purchase of illegal goods and frauds. perpetrated on the population. That all changed on March 6, 2020 when the Korean National

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Amendment to the Korean Immigration Act Supports Foreign Children in Cases of Child Abuse

In early April 2019 the Chair of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee proposed an Amendment to the Immigration Act of Korea , with the facial purpose of implement more supportive regulations to assist foreign children that are victims of child abuse. Please note, unlike in the United States and some other Western countries, being born in Korea does not, automatically, grant you the right to Korean citizenship. The Amendment shall be effective upon promulgation. For an article on deportation from Korean please see: Korean Immigration Deportation, Departure/Exit Orders. For an article on challenging a decision of Immigration please see: Challenging a Korean Immigration Order at the Administrative Court of Korea. Major Provisions of the Amendment to the Korean Immigration Act To lessen the burden caused by a complex and lengthy Korean Immigration process, the Legislation & Judicial Committee decided to propose this Amendment to Korea’s Immigration Act. The salient parts

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Fleeing Korea while under Police/Prosecutor Investigation: International Hold in Korea

From changes a couple of years ago in the computer system and policy of the Korean Immigration Services, even if the Korean prosecution/police have not requested that an accused be placed on an International Hold, some records of police investigations, indictments and proposed fines and sentences by the prosecution/police are being reported to the Korean Immigration Service at airports and ports of departure. An International Hold, in Korea, is an official procedure that flags passports and fingerprints & prevents one, under this International Hold, from departing Korea prior to the lifting of the International Hold. Even if you are not under an official International Hold, Korea Immigration may refuse your departure or entry into Korea based on information from data being shared between the Police, Prosecution, National Tax Service and other Korean government agencies.  Please note that the Korea Immigration is a branch of the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry

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Korea Increases the List of Serious Crimes in the Act on Regulation and Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment

The Chair of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee in Korea proposed an Amendment to the Korean Act on Regulation and Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment (hereinafter as “Act on Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment”) on April 4, 2019. Some crimes shall be added to the list of “serious crimes” stated in the aforementioned Act. Amendment to the Act on Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment The list of “serious crimes” (also “specific crimes”) as defined in Art. 2 (1) Korean Act on Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment shall be extended with the proposed Amendment. These newly added “serious crimes” shall be subject to a proper punishment under this Act, especially for concealing, disguising and/or exchanging criminal proceeds. In addition, the collection and/or confiscation of such illegally earned proceeds shall be able. The newly added ‘serious crimes’ under this Act shall be for instance: Confinement, human trafficking, kidnapping, abduction, etc., as well

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New Provisions regarding the Korean Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information

The Amendment to the Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information of Korea (hereinafter as “Amended Financial Transaction Information Act of Korea”) focuses on strengthening Korean legal provisions related to money laundering as well as implementing a “global standard” proposed by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering. The Amended Financial Transaction Information Act of Korea shall enter into force on July 1, 2019. Major provisions of the Korean Act on Financial Transaction Information The purpose of the Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information is to “…provide for matters concerning reporting on and use of specified financial transaction information necessary to regulate money laundering and financing of terrorism through financial transactions, such as foreign exchange transactions, thereby contributing to preventing crimes and further establishing a sound and transparent financial system.” (Art 1). The major provisions of the prior Act are: Transactions of expected illegal

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Safety Measures in Korean School Buses in Korea via the Amended Road Traffic Act of Korea

The Amendment to the Korean Road Traffic Act (hereinafter as “ Korean RTA”) is in force since March 2019 and shall generally increase the safety for children in school buses in Korea. The Amendment was a reaction to an accident that occurred with in school buses, including children, which got physically harmed or even died. An infamous incident involved a young child that left unattended in a bus and died because of, among other things, heat exhaustion. Korean RTA drastically changed, the following brief snippet is, only, the tip of the iceberg. If you are running a business that transports children, we, highly, recommend having your law firm in Korea walk you through this law. Two Highlights of the Amendment to the Korean Road Traffic Act 2019 “A driver of a school bus for children shall operate a device that verifies that the discharge of children from the bus has

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English-Speaking Criminal Defense Team Lead by Retired Korean Presiding Judge

IPG’s Criminal Defense Team is lead by a leading Korean criminal defense attorney – retired Judge SJ Kook.  Hiring a proactive, connected and respected lawyer in Korea is essential in all criminal matters in Korea. Judge Kook, to date, has earned, for clients, over 60 not guilty verdicts.  He works on may Korean criminal matters with Sean Hayes, a retired prosecutor and internationally-experienced Korean attorneys. Judge Kook is a graduate of Seoul National University and Columbia Law School.  He retired as a presiding judge.  For more info on IPG please see: www.ipglegal.com IPG’s Representative Criminal Defense Cases: Not guilty verdicts for two employees of a major American defense company in a criminal prosecution concerning Korean defense contracts. Not guilty verdict for an American military officer charged with a violent crime. Not guilty verdict for an employee of an American defense contractor charged with a violent crime. Obtained a suspended jail sentence

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The Signs of a Great Criminal Lawyer in Korea | English-Speaking Criminal Defense Attorney in Seoul

There are few great English-fluent criminal defense lawyers working in Korea, because of the nature of the Korean criminal justice system and other Korean realities.  It is even more difficult to find competent English-speaking criminal defense attorneys outside of Seoul. In Korea, in all cases, where you are accused of a crime and you fear that you may be sentenced to time in a Korean jail, may be deported from Korea or the Korean conviction may harm your future – hire, quickly, an experienced and proactive defense attorney in Korea with experience in Korean criminal law prior to any interrogations by the Korean police or prosecution. As I mentioned in a post entitled English-Speaking Criminal Defense Lawyers in Korea: Who to Hire – Who Not to Hire. “Sadly, few lawyers, in Korea, are useful for criminal matters, since few lawyers are proactive when it comes to matters concerning the Korean

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Fiduciary Duties of Korean Directors/Representative & Controlling Shareholders of Korean Companies

Directors of companies, registered in Korea, many be held criminally and civilly liable for acts as a director (in limited cases even controlling shareholder can be held criminally liable).  Many acts (or inactions) that would not be deemed criminal in the West are, often, deemed criminal in Korea.  Additionally, matters that are considered in the West as mere “civil” matters, often, begin and end at the Korean prosecutor’s office. A little due diligence, complying with corporate formalities, nuanced corporate governance practices and a little street smarts coupled with good liability insurance is a good start in succeeding in business in Korea. We have been on both sides of matters were directors (and even controlling shareholders) have been prohibited from departing Korea, jailed and fined.  In most cases, liability is unlimited and it is presumed that a director has complied with the decision of the Board of Directors if no dissent

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Korean Compliance Checklist for your Business in Korea

The following Korean Compliance Checklist is intended to provide, only, a basic overview of the necessaries for keeping the law and shareholders off your back.  We, highly, recommend having a compliance audit preformed – if you have not completed a compliance audit of your Korean business in the past or recently.   1.  Do you Have a Registered Company/Business? Operating in Korea is not as simple as just leasing an office.  All businesses whether in the form of a corporation or sole proprietorship in Korea are required to register as business with the tax office and local government offices.  For some businesses the approval of a government agency shall be required.  Other articles on Korean corporate forms may be found at: Establishing a Company in Korea: Under Revised Corporate Code Limited Liability Companies Under the Revised Korean Commercial Code 2.  Do you Have Employment Agreements, Employment Rules, License Agreements, Joint

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Obtaining a Korean Criminal Record Check from Outside of Korea

A Korean Law Firm may obtain for you – your personal Korean criminal record.  In most cases, the law firm is required to obtain a notarized and apostatized power of attorney and a notarized copy of your passport.  A Korean criminal record, normally, takes around a week to obtain. A Korean criminal record is called a Criminal Investigative Record Check (범죄수사경력회보서).  If you are interested in obtaining a confirmation that you have no criminal record or require your criminal record, please send us an email and we can arrange this for you. [ABTM id=1137]

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Confession Prior to Arrest in Korea: Korean Sentencing Law Basics

Some crimes in Korea require the victim’s consent for the prosecutor to indict a victim, the most literal translation of these types of crimes are “Crimes Not Punished Against the Will of the Victim.” Additionally, a “Self Denunciation” (Confession to Korean Investigative Agency Prior to Arrest ) may mitigate punishment (Korean Criminal Act Article 52).  The difference between these types of crimes and the formality in confessing may forego the opportunity to avoid a jail sentence. All good Korean criminal defense lawyers, at a minimum, should be aware of this specific issue, confession formalities and, also, be aware of the need, in many cases, to proactively engage alleged victims. Korean Confessions/Self-Denunciation in Sentencing Law in Korea  Criminal Act of Korea, Article 52 (1) When self-denunciation is made to competent authorities who have the responsibility to investigate the crimes, the punishment may be mitigated or remitted. (2) The preceding paragraph shall apply

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Korean Entrapment Law: Korean Criminal Procedure Law Basics

The use of the Entrapment Defense in Korea depends on if the actions of the police/investigators have “induced” the suspect to commit a crime or merely provided an “opportunity” for the suspect to commit a crime.  The “crime inducing” act by the Korean government is a criminal defense to the alleged consummated crime.  The main job of the court in determining if the crime was induced is to determine the intent of the suspect at the time of the alleged inducing action by the Korean police/investigator. The Korean Supreme Court clarified this entrapment criminal defense rule in a case disposed of in the Fall of 2005. The Supreme Court of Korea acknowledged that entrapment likely occurred in a case that concerned a paid informant and the smuggling of drugs from China to Korea. The informant, according to the defendants, asserted that the importation of the drugs was to assist the government efforts to fight drug

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Korea’s Improper Solicitation and Graft Act: Kim Young-ran Act

The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act of Korea (“Graft Act”) was enacted on March of 2015 and came into effect in September of 2016.  Korea’s Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission published in English and Korea a decent Handbook to the Graft Act.  The Handbook may be found at: Handbook to Korea’s Graft Act.  All companies doing business in Korea should understand compliance basics and have an understanding of the myriad of compliance rules.  The Graft Act is, only, the tip of the iceberg.  We shall be focusing on Korean compliance basics over the next couple of months on this blog.  The Moon Administration and the Korean FTA have aggressively acted upon alleged malfeasance in Korean companies and this is a time to consider a compliance audit, redrafting of compliance policies and procedures and, potentially, your employment rules. Please check back to the Korean Law Blog.  We shall be writing over the

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USA Today cites The Korean Law Blog and IPG Attorney Sean Hayes on Casino Gambling Law

An article in USA Today on Casino Gambling in Korea cites The Korean Law Blog and the main author of this blog on Casino Gambling in Korea.  The article may be found at:  South Korea wants to build casino industry where all are welcome but Koreans. The article notes, in part, that: “According to the Korea Center on Gambling Problems, which was established by the government in 2012, the prevalence of gambling addiction is two-to-three times higher in Korea than in other major countries. While it’s unclear how those statistics are compiled, the notion that Koreans are uniquely susceptible to gambling addiction is a widespread social theory that informs the laws surrounding the issue.” [ABTM id=1137]

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Korean Child Abduction Law Explained

Child Abduction Law in Korea is a developing area of Korean law because of Korea’s Criminal and Family Law’s interaction with the recently ratified Hague Convention on the Civil Aspect of International Child Abduction and recent noted issues that have been covered in the local and international press.  Please note this area of law in Korea is developing and Korea’s child abduction jurisprudence is quickly developing and local law is necessary to consider with the interaction between the laws of the jurisdiction of the Mother and Father. One case sheds light on international child abduction law in Korea.  A Vietnamese Mother and a Korean Father with marriage difficulties were planning to divorce.  The Vietnamese Mother removed the child of the couple to Vietnam and returned to Korea for employment purposes.  The child was moved to Vietnam to be raised by the family of the Vietnamese Mother. The couple divorced after the alleged

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