Foreigner dies as doctors stage protest

Foreigner dies as doctors stage protest An immigrant worker died Wednesday because doctors from across the country staged a protest in Seoul. The 33-year-old Thai man reportedly had been waiting to receive treatment to remove a chicken bone lodged in his throat. The man had collapsed while having lunch at a factory in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, according to local police. He was rushed to a nearby medical clinic by his colleagues, but no doctors were available. The worker died while he was being moved to a larger hospital in Bundang. His wife told police that he seems to have choked on a piece of chicken bone. Police are investigating the exact cause of his death. He was the first known casualty of the nationwide strike against a revision of the medical law. An acquaintance said that delay of an ambulance car worsened the situation. “We called the emergency service team

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More Koreans Engage in Sex Trade in US

By Park Chung-a Korea TimesStaff Reporter The number of Korean women engaged in prostitution overseas _ both voluntary or forced _ has been steadily increasing after the government’s crackdown on the domestic sex industry in 2004. According to the U.S. State Department on Monday, based on the law for protecting victims of slave trading, the country provided shelter to 230 foreign victims in 2005 and Koreans accounted for the largest portion at 23.5 percent. Korea was followed by Thailand, Peru and Mexico in terms of the number of the victims who were offered shelter. It also said that a sudden increase in Koreans seems to be related to the 2004 crackdown. Although victims of labor exploitation are included in the victims of slave trade, most of the Korean victims were involved in the sex trade, according to the officials. Yoon Won-ho, a lawmaker of the ruling Uri Party who has

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Korea Spy Agency increases Spying

By Kim Tae-gyu Staff Reporter The National Intelligence Service (NIS), the country’s spy agency, is wiretapping more and more fixed-line phones and tracking the e-mail messages of Koreans.The Ministry of Information and Communication on Tuesday said the NIS traced a total of 8,440 phones or messages last year, up 4.4 percent from 8,082 in 2005. This contrasts to other law enforcement agencies like prosecutors, police and military agencies, which substantially reduced the interception of telephone conversations. The prosecution spied on just 43 phones last year from 100 in 2005. The annual tallies were 131 for the police, down 46 percent year-on-year, and 51 for military investigators, down 54 percent. “The overall wiretapping cases amounted to 1,033 in 2006, up 5.7 percent from the previous year,’’ Choi Young-hae, a director at the Information Ministry, told a press conference. “The increase was led by the NIS, which says it had to bug

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Foreign teacher held on drug charges

March 20, 2007 Joonang Ilbo A 24-year-old Canadian English teacher has been detained on charges of smoking hashish, the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday. Four Canadians and one Australian who teach or had taught at private academies in Seoul and Gyeonggi province have also been investigated on the same charge but were not detained, prosecutors said. According to prosecutors, the Canadian man, who teaches English at a private academy in Seongnam, Gyeonggi province, allegedly smoked hashish in his studio apartment in Bundang-district on the southern outskirts of Seoul on Jan. 5 with three of the suspects. The man is suspected of buying 3.6 grams of hashish from an unidentified foreigner at a bar in Itaewon, central Seoul, on Jan. 1 for 200,000 won ($211) and selling 1.6 grams of the drug to a 26-year-old Canadian English teacher, one of the suspects under investigation. The man admitted to police that

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Drug Confession on Blog Leads to Bust by Seoul Police

The Marmot’s Hole has a post on how an office worker who posted on his website that he smoked pot in the Netherlands led to the police arresting the individual. What NOT to post on your blog in Korea A 38-year-old office worker got a rude introduction to the perils of blogging when he posted about his pot-smoking experience in the Netherlands on his blog [Segye Ilbo, Korean].You guessed it—the police busted him. The office worker, identified only as Mr. A, was with two colleagues on a seven-day, six-night business trip to the Netherlands in January. Having completed their work, they were spending the rest of their time in-country doing a little sightseeing when their guide mentioned that while smoking pot in Korea might be illegal, smoking pot in the Netherlands was not punished. Their curiosity sparked, they paid a visit to a local coffee shop and bought three joints,

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Sidewalk motorcyclists to face stiffer penalties

Sidewalk motorcyclists to face stiffer penalties March 20, 2007 Joongangilbo The National Police Agency announced it will enforce a massive crackdown in May against motorcyclists who ride their bikes on sidewalks and crosswalks. The practice is the source of many complaints by foreign visitors to Korea. According to a recent agency survey of 154,000 motorcyclists at 50 major intersections nationwide, more than nine out of 10 crossed roads on pedestrian crosswalks. About 63 percent failed to halt at the stop line and 47 percent did not use the lane nearest to the sidewalk that is reserved for motorcycles. More than one out of 10 motorcyclists rode on the sidewalks, according to the survey. The number of motorcycle accidents has increased as well, from 10,269 in 2004 to 12,161 in 2005 and 13,635 last year, according to the agency. During January and February, 1,750 accidents occurred in which 100 were killed,

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Suspected Kidnapper Nabbed

By Kim Rahn Korea Times The police Friday arrested a 38-year-old man on suspicion of orchestrating last month’s kidnapping of a golf course owner. The suspect, Chong Song-il, is the son of Chong In-suk, a woman who was believed to be the mistress of a high-ranking official in the 1960s and who died mysteriously. Incheon International Airport Police arrested Chong near his house in southern Seoul early yesterday morning, 18 days after the kidnapping. On Feb. 26, the owner of a golf course in Kyonggi Province, identified by his surname Kang, his 24-year-old son and his driver were taken abducted by a group of men at the airport. They escaped two days later from a villa in PyeongChang, Kangwon Province, where they had been held. Kang claimed two of his relatives had ordered gangsters to kidnap him in a plot to take over management of the golf course. Earlier this

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Investigation of Homicides in Korea

Tiny clues shed light on brutal homicides March 13, 2007 Joongang Ilbo A breakthrough in a murder case can come from a tiny piece of evidence. It can be a miniscule blood stain or a fingerprint on a discarded bottle, but solid evidence is hard to come by. To find the vital piece may require the search of a thousand homes and several weeks of sleepless nights. But without decisive evidence a case can remain unsolved indefinitely, depriving the victim’s relatives and loved ones of justice. On Jan. 24, the nation was shocked when a woman’s torso and handless arms were found. They were in a bloodstained bag dumped in a restroom at the Ansan subway station. Some wondered if a serial killer was on the loose. Danwon police launched an intensive murder investigation, according to three officers interviewed for this story. Blood stains from the victim were discovered in

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Rape Sentences Egregiously Low

This column appears in the Korea Times every Wednesday. Rape Sentences Egregiously Low Dear Professor Sean Hayes: I was very surprised when the American soldier convicted of raping a 67 year old woman only received 4 years in jail. I know in my home, Vancouver, anyone convicted of rape will receive a substantially higher sentence. Did the convicted receive a short sentence because of the influence of the United States military or because of low sentences for rapists in Korea? Surprised Canadian. Dear Surprised Canadian: The United States military played no role in the low sentence given to the American private. The sentence received was even longer than the normal rape sentence in Korea. The reason, according to the Court, was that the victim was extremely traumatized by the rape and assault. Private Geronimo Ramirez, 23, in mid January, raped a 67 year women as she was returning from an

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Crimes Out of Desperation Increase

By Park Chung-a Korea Times In a 1948 Italian movie “The Bicycle Thief,’’ Antonio, a middle-aged breadwinner ends up becoming a bicycle thief as a way to overcome his desperate situation arising from economic hardship. Now there is an increasing number of such “bicycle thieves’’ whose crimes are linked to trying to improving their desperate lot in the country. Last week, a 42-year-old man identified by his last name Kang, was caught by police while trying to steal three bicycles near Changhanpyong subway station in Seoul. Kang said that he stole the worn-out bicycles in order to buy ingredients to make stew for his daughter and son who are elementary school students. “I was just so desperate to feed my children. With the money exchanged with the bicycles I thought I could cook something for my children,’’ Kang told the police. However, the bicycles that he stole would not have

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Lone Star’s KEB Deal Said Illegal

By Na Jeong-juStaff Reporter Korea Times State auditors said Monday Lone Star Funds, a U.S. private equity fund, was not eligible to acquire Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) in 2003, but financial regulators approved the deal in violation of the law. Following its audit of Lone Star’s qualification to become the majority shareholder of KEB, the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) concluded it was illegal for the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to approve the sale of KEB’s controlling stake to the company. BAI officials said the auditor has requested the FSC to review its 2003 decision to endorse the sale. In line with the request, FSC may embark on the procedure of deciding on whether to withdraw its ruling for Lone Star, but doing so is not compulsory. “We can’t do anything about it until a final court ruling comes out,’’ an FSC official said. The auditor also requested the

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US Soldier Sentenced to 4 Years for Rape

Pvt. Geronimo Ramirez, a 23 year old U.S. Soldier, was sentenced to four years in jail for the rape and beating of a 67 year old women. The largest question in this case is not the obvious, but the fact that the Court only sentenced the soldier to 4 years in jail. Rape is only second to Murder and maybe attempted murder in seriousness. Rape affects the victim in the most proud way. This women’s life will be forever changed because of this situation. This realization should lead courts to sentence rapists to long jail sentences. 4 years in jail for rape is a travesty of justice. The normal sentence for rape is 3 years, but the Court supposedly sentenced the rapist to 4 years because of the severe trauma caused by the rape. [email protected] .

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Blue Wall of Silence in the Land of the Morning Calm

The below article, appearing in the Chosun Ilbo today, displays the general attitude of many police in Korea. Police are too willing to protect other police who break the law. Here, a police Commissioner General allegedly was caught saying that police should “take it easy” on other police who violate drunk driving laws. Is the Commissioner General ordering his subordinates to not arrest police that drive drunk? As in most countries, drunk driving is one of the leading causes of death. If a death occurs that is found to be caused by a police officer driving drunk, we must question if the officer was not deterred from driving drunk because of the attitude of the Commissioner General. I suspect if an accident between a drunk cop and a citizen occurs, maybe no citizen will ever know about it. The Blue Wall of Silence is present and flourishing in the Land

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Warrant for Guards Sought for Immigration Fire

March 07, 2007 Joongang ilbo South Jeolla police said yesterday that a detainee at the Yeosu Immigration Office set the fire that killed 10 and injured 17 others last month, and sought arrest warrants for four security guards on charges of neglecting their duties.Police are investigating eight guards at the center who were on duty that night, Kim Jan-wan, chief of Yeosu Police, said yesterday in a briefing. The guards at the immigration center, operated by the Justice Ministry, did not properly watch the rooms and initially tried to keep the detainees inside the building, causing more deaths and injuries, police said. One of the guards, 43, was sleeping at the time and had asked a substitute to watch a room through a security camera, police said. Another guard, 35, was reading a book at the time of the fire and initially kept the detainees from leaving the building, police

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Can Legalization of Prostitution Work?

Korea Times Wednesday March 6, 2007 The column is entitled Lex Pro Bono and appears every Wednesday. Can Legalization of Prostitution Work? Dear Professor Sean Hayes:I am puzzled by the fact that prostitution is still rampant in Korea even though supposedly the police havecracked down on prostitution. Has the police trulycracked down on prostitution or is this just a publicrelations ploy? Puzzled Foreigner Dear Puzzled Foreigner: The police have cracked down on the visible and “underground” places of prostitution. However, the crackdown has notsignificantly decreased the supply of or demand for sex workers. In 2004, the National Assembly passed an anti-prostitution law that provides that buyers of sex may be punished by up to 1 year in jail and a 3 million won fine. Sex business owners may be punished by up to 10 years in jail and 100 million won fine. In actuality the punishments are usually much less

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Sex Offenders Not So Concerned About Victims’ Looks – Survey

Chosun Ilbo (Translation) March 6, 2007 A survey of convicted sex offenders found that they were more concerned about the possibility of nearby CCTV cameras than they were about their victims’ appearances. According to a doctoral dissertation by Nam Jae-sung of Dongguk University’s Police Administration department, when 272 sex offenders were asked what they were concerned about when committing their crimes, they rated CCTV cameras the most important thing, with an average score of 2.95 out of 4. The other things they were concerned about, in descending order, were: if the victims had defensive devices (2.85), how often police patrolled the area (2.48), whether public offices like police stations were in close proximity (2.41), and how well the offenders knew the site (2.40). In contrast, the attractiveness of victims was of the least concern, at 1.74. The study also revealed that the offenders did not consider seriously their escape routes

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Community Sites: a Portal to Crime

ChosunIlbo (translation) March 6, 2007 Some 30 cyber crime investigators from the national Police Agency gathered Monday to discuss the growing threat of crime posed by community sites. Community sites or discussion boards are both a blessing and a curse of the information superhighway. Allowing users to find like-minded people the world over, they also offer new opportunities for crime. Fraud, defamation, gambling, stalking, the sale of drugs and even murder, officers say, are facilitated by the Internet. In a high-profile case in December, a man identified as Lee was arrested for forgery of official documents which he had advertised on an Internet portal. Lee charged between W250,000 (US$1=W951) and W1 million for transcripts for college, TOEIC certificates, university graduation certificates, proof of seals, resident registration forms, international driver’s licenses and other 300 documents. From fake cigarettes to body organs, stolen motorcycles to drugs, almost everything is bought and sold

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The William Tell of Professors Gives the Court a Johnnie Cochran Like Argument

IF THE RULING DOESN’T SUIT – SHOOT The Sungkyunkwan University professor Kim Myung-ho that William Tell-ed a Judge in mid-January has developed and interesting “if the glove doesn’t fit – acquit” legal strategy for his appeal. The professor is now claiming that he was only acting in self-defense. He claims he is the victim and the judge is the real assailant, since “Wielding the weapon of judicial rulings, the justice system is creating many judicial victims.” So in memory of Cochran “if the glove doesn’t fit acquit” argument he pulled out his own version “if ruling doesn’t suit -shoot” argument. I doubt the judge will bite Prof. William Tell’s apple. His lawyer has also made an interesting (fill-in your own word) argument. He is claiming that the crossbow used to shoot the judge was a recreational item and not a dangerous weapon, thus the injury from the shooting was only

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Korean Prostitution Not a Thing of the Past and Never Will Be

The supposed crackdown on prostitution that commenced in 2004, is said by many to have just run prostitution underground. I still recognize a lot of prostitution not so underground as you can see in the pictures displayed here. The windows on the right side of the photos are cathouses and the men standing in the foreground are police. The cathouses are not closed. The major prostitution areas, the “massage parlors,” the call girls that advertise with little cards with their supposed pictures on them and of course the Room Saloons are all still open and all are still busy. Many today are wondering whether the solution to the problem is to heavily regulate prostitution. Examples of such regulations include: mandatory HIV tests, licensing, zoning regulations, advertising prohibitions, “special vice taxes,” and severe punishment for those that don’t abide by the regulations. Secret Sex Clubs Thrive Despite Police Clampdown By Kim

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Police bust 2 teenage prostitution rings involving runaways

A disturbing report in a Korean language daily states that teenage girls were being forced to have sex with teenage boys. Even more disturbing, a 3rd teenage girl collected the money from the boys in exchange for the sex. Police bust 2 teenage prostitution rings involving runaways (Translation Hankyoreh March 2, 2007) Civic groups say cases underscore need for prevention programs, education Police say that on Feburary 9, a 14-year-old female middle school dropout forced two former classmates, both 14 and female, to go to an apartment in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province and have sex with three 16-year-old males she had met over the Internet. The girl that arranged the prostitution then collected money from the three males. The two girls had already been forced into prostitution by the same ex-classmate in two other instances earlier this month, according to the police. The two classmates at first resisted her demands, but

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