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

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Koreans Likely to Enjoy US Visa Waiver Program

South Koreans may be able to travel to America without a visa if a Sept. 11 reform bill becomes law in the United States. The chances of Korea entering the U.S. visa waiver program has increased after the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill Tuesday. “If the bill becomes law, there would be a higher possibility that South Koreans could travel to the U.S. freely without a visa,’’ an immigration expert said. U.S. senators voted 60 to 38 for the security reform bill containing a provision enabling U.S. President George W. Bush to fulfill his promised expansion of the visa

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Scholars Urge Korea to Upgrade System for US FTA

By Yoon Won-sup and Kim Sue-youngStaff Reporters Korea Times Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong, right, and Kim Jong-hoon, chief South Korean negotiator for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, look pensive during a National Assembly session, Wednesday. /Yonhap Economic and political experts said that a free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the United States, once concluded, will bring great opportunities for South Korea to enter the world’s biggest market.But they warned that the FTA may also pose critical challenges to Korea if it fails to upgrade its economic systems to the level of the United States.

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Illegal Migrant Workers to Get Help Receiving Pay

Korea Times Kang Shin-who The Ministry of Labor plans to help migrant workers who have overstayed their visas due to delayed salaries. The ministry Tuesday announced that it will visit immigrant detention centers and help those who have had difficulties in getting their salaries from companies they worked for. The ministry said it will provide legal counselors to help retrieve the money in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice. If the ministry finds foreigners who have overstayed their visas due to such circumstances, it will put priority in retrieving the unpaid salary and then take action on the overstayed visa,

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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

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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

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Korea-U.S. Agree in Two More Areas in FTA

Chosun Ilbo Korea, U.S. Make Headway Toward FTA Korean and U.S. trade negotiators reached agreement on the customs and government procurement at their eighth round of bilateral free trade talks, which is under way in Seoul. Including antitrust measures, where the two sides agreed Thursday, they have now concluded negotiations in three out of 19 areas under discussion. By concluding deals in the less critical sectors first, they have been able to move faster in trade negotiations toward complete conclusion in all fields. But thorny issues like agricultural market and auto taxes remain a stumbling block, and the two sides

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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

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Lawsuits Against State to Get Tougher

By Kim Rahn Korea Times Individuals may have a lesser chance of winning lawsuits against the state, following a government measure to improve the quality of its lawyers. The measure came amid an avalanche of suits filed by individual citizens or companies against government agencies and public organizations, according to the Ministry of Justice. The number of suits against the nation climbed from 6,815 in 2000 to 10,027 last year, while money claimed amounted to 3 trillion won. The ministry announced Monday it had abolished a provision restricting lawyers’ payments in cases involving the state earlier this month. The provision,

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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.

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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

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Secretary General of Con. Court Retires

So Sang Hong, Secretary General of the Constitutional Court, retired after serving the Court for six years and his nation for over 30 years as judge. He will serve as a practicing lawyer upon his retirement. Mr. So is known for his generosity, passion for law and his nation, intellectual honesty, and a keen awareness of the role of Constitutional Law in Korean society. I wish him a hardy good luck and hope he continues his contribution to this nation through his practice of law. _____SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

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Quantifying the Value of Intellectual Assets

The Maeil Business News reported on the OECD Plenary session on Intellectual Assets and Value Creation on March 6, 2007. One of the interesting things coming out of the session is that: 40 percent of American firms’ valuation was in intellectual property during the 1980’s, whereas 70 percent of American firms’ value is in intellectual property these days, a total of $5 trillion. Richard Johnson said that innovation can be viewed differently, as its quantifiable value may be bought, sold, securitized and used as collateral, with greater opportunities for small companies and collaboration between big firms and small. He added

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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

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U.S. Report on S. Korean Human Rights

The U.S. published its annual report on Human Rights. The report is on Human Rights in S. Korea is generally favorable, with only a few concerns. The U.S. major concerns were: 1. The National Security Law2. Limitations on the freedom of speech3. Violent protests4. Discrimation Against Women, Minorities, Foreigners etc.5. Prostitution and the Increase in Korean men going abroad to purchase sex6. Mistreatment of foreign spouses7. Human Trafficing8. Breach of contract by employers of foreign English teachers _____SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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