Visa rules to be eased for ethnic Koreans

Korea Herald March 6, 2007 Ethnic Koreans who have overstayed their visa by up to one year will be saved from deportation as the government is planning to issue a newly introduced visa that would extend their legal stay. The government yesterday began receiving applications for the new H-2 visa, which will allow ethnic Koreans from China, Russia and the former Soviet Union states to stay and work in Korea for up to three years on a single-entry basis or five years on a multiple-entry basis. The Justice Ministry said the new visa rule will apply to an estimated 4,500

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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.

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Song DooHwan Nominated to Con. Court

Song DooHwan was choosen by President Roh on March 2, 2007 to replace retiring Constitutional Court Justice Choo Sun-Hoe. Justice Choo’s term expires at the end of March. Mr. Song is the Representative Partner of Hankyul Law Firm. He graduated from SNU in 1971, the Judicial Research Institute in 1982, was a Judge from 1982 to 1990, Executive Director of the Korean Bar Association from 1996 to 1997, and Independent Counsel in the infamous Remittance of funds to North Korea case in 2003. His expertise in law, according to his firms website, is with commercial transactions and civil litigation. _____SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

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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

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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

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Impolite Language by Prosecutors Banned

Impolite Language by Prosecutors Banned MARCH 01, 2007 08:00 Donga Ilbo (translation) The special interrogation division (director and interrogation division head: Kim Tae-hyeon) of the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office decided to impose a heavy disciplinary punishment on Prosecutor Baek in relation to the suspicion that he forced a suspect in the JU case, a case about an illegal pyramid scheme, for harming the dignity of prosecutors by violating interrogation rules by using improper language. It also decided to discipline division head Kim of the Seoul Eastern Prosecutors’ Office, a direct senior of Prosecutor Baek, for negligence of guidance and direction

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Prospects dim for capital market law

The Korea Herald along with many Korean language papers on March 2, 2007 reported that the proposed consolidation of the bank, insurance, and security laws is unlikely to pass because of opposition from banks, some prominent lawmakers, and academics. A plan to consolidate government acts related to banks, insurance and securities firms could hit a snag amid controversy over allowing brokerages to engage in banking transactions for customers. Several lawmakers, academics and banks are opposing the idea, arguing that it would give banking business to securities firms. They say securities firms are currently exempted from banking regulations, such as the

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New divorce law for N.K. defectors

The Korea Herald reported on March 2, 2007 that N.K. defectors will be able to receive divorces from their N.K spouses. The new law will help clear the way for defectors to divorce spouses still residing in the North. North Korean defectors will be able to obtain court approval to divorce spouses not residing in the South, as a new law came into effect Tuesday. The Seoul Family Court said yesterday it will expedite legal proceedings for 223 pending divorce cases filed by North Korean refugees living in South Korea. Existing family law stipulates that an individual seeking divorce must

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Korea Audit Board to Audit FTA Negotiations

According to a report in the Donga Ilbo on Feb. 27, 2007 the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) will audit ongoing Korean-US FTA negotiations. Seemingly, the BAI intends to assuage inter-minister disagreements. The Chairman of the BAI is Jeon Yun-churl, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of MOFE during the Korea-Chile FTA negotiations. Chairman Jeon is considered to have been very instrumental in pushing through the Chile FTA.  A brief excerpt of the story appears below.  IPG Legal is engaged in projects for clients in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam and the United States.  The Korea

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Human Rights Commission says No way to Mandatory HIV Testing for Prostitutes

The National Human Rights Commission recommended on Feb. 26, 2007 that a clause requiring HIV/AIDS testing for all females working in businesses with links to prostitution, including massage parlors, be removed from a bill proposed by the Health Ministry. The bill by the Ministry is intended to revise the AIDS prevention law in order to deal with modern realities. The bill, if passed, would require two annual mandatory AIDS tests for female workers with a year in prison or fines of up to 3 million won ($3,198) for those who refuse. The Human Rights Commission also recommended that the anonymity

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Supreme Court Justice Kim Yong-dam on Judges/Prosecutors and Public Trust

A Joongang Daily editorial on Feb. 27, 2007 entitled Judges, prosecutors seeking to regain public trust summarizes a speech giving by Justice Kim Yong-dam to other judges. The editorial is enlightening to the fact that the legal system is trying to make a concerted effort to change its public image. The nation’s courts have given the impression that they are lenient to the haves but cold-hearted to the have-nots, Kim Yong-dam, a Supreme Court justice, said yesterday. During a lecture to criminal court judges, Mr. Kim urged the judiciary to study past rulings in an attempt to understand the public’s

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Constitutional Revision Bill Delayed

A Chong Wa Dae spokesman announced on Feb. 26, 2007 that the Constitutional Revision Bill will be delayed until late in March due to “technical problems.” The technical problems mentioned by the Blue House include difficulty in finding a solution to the possible occurrence of a vacancy in office. Many believe that the “technical problems” are simply a cover for the problem of lack of widespread support for the revision. On Jan. 9, 2007 Roh suggested, among other changes, that the current five-year, single-term presidential system be replaced with a four-year renewable term. _____SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

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How to Keep . . . Competitive (Bill Gates)

An article by Bill Gates on how the U.S. has remained competitive is a lesson for all nations. His simple advice to the U.S. should be followed by all nations. [Bill Gates]How to keep U.S. competitive For centuries people assumed that economic growth resulted from the interplay between capital and labor. Today we know that these elements are outweighed by a single critical factor: innovation. Innovation is the source of U.S. economic leadership and the foundation for our competitiveness in the global economy. Government investment in research, strong intellectual property laws and efficient capital markets are among the reasons that

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Violence in Korean Schools Rising

On Feb. 27, 2007 numerous Korean and English language newspapers reported that school violence has become such a problem that the Ministry of Education setup a program to enable students threatened by violence to receive an escort on the way to and from school. The program, to be implemented in April, will also include counseling to assist students in learning how to prevent violence. According to the Ministry, 15.9% of students have experienced violence in school and the percentage of students who have been threatened, robbed or bullied by peers increased from 1.1 percent to 4.3 percent, 3.5 percent to

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Legal system hinders class action suits

Korea Herald Feb. 26, 2007 Experts say the burden of proof limits room for shareholders to maneuver Class action suits have mostly been cumbersome, costly and highly risky for shareholders filing complaints in the United States, but their gains clearly deserved such a demanding process. American firms had paid a total of $26 billion to settle collective legal complaints from 1997 to 2005, and each case cost $35 million on average. The record was rewritten as Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc., which collapsed due to huge accounting frauds, were forced to pay over $13 billion to shareholders in 2005 alone.

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Prosecutor with cancer ‘only doing her job’

Korea Herald Feb. 26, 2007 Jin Hye-won, a 32-year-old prosecutor, has been the focus of media attention after it was revealed that she worked around the clock despite having brain cancer. The prosecutor with the Seoul Northern District Prosecutors’ Office underwent an operation to remove the tumor on Jan. 24, just two days before an appellant court sentenced the defendant in the case to eight months in prison and two years of probation. The defendant had originally been acquitted last July due to a lack of evidence. “I’ve never seen a prosecutor like her who is so devoted and enthusiastic,”

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Fraud sentence stands against ex-Doosan boss

Joongang Daily February 23, 2007 The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that sentenced Park Yong-oh, a former Doosan Group chairman, to a three-year suspended jail term for embezzlement.Mr. Park, 69, was convicted by the Seoul Central District Court a year ago of embezzling 29.7 billion won ($31.5 million) from the business group between 1996 and 2005. Last July an appeals court upheld the three-year jail sentence, suspended for five years, and 8 billion won in fines. Kim Ji-hyeong, presiding justice of the top court, said the lower court ruling was “acceptable,” convicting Mr. Park of using the

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Government Investigating Credit Card Commissions

Donga Ilbo Feb. 23, 2007 There are reports of widespread discontent over the way credit card issuers charge merchants commission fees. South Korea’s financial regulatory body has begun to investigate the issue. “We commissioned the Korea Institute of Finance to find out what costs credit card issuers face. We are going to assess whether each card issuer charges fair commissions to merchants. Then we will propose a standard for card issuers to levy a commission,” said an official from the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) on February 22. The Ministry of Finance and Economy will use the standard to persuade card

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Four oil companies fined for price rigging

Korea Herald Feb. 23, 2007 The Fair Trade Commission yesterday slapped fines of 52.6 billion won ($54.5 million) on four major oil refineries for illegal price-fixing. The antitrust watchdog said SK Corp., Hyundai Oilbank Corp., GS Caltex Corp. and S-Oil Corp. were found to have conspired to raise prices of petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene in 2004. The FTC also decided to file a complaint against the four companies to the prosecution. “The oil cartel, between April 1 and June 10, is estimated to have caused customer damage amounting to 240 billion won, or 15 percent of

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153 indicted in gaming scandal

Korea Herald Feb. 23, 2007 ‘Sea Story’ scandal nabs 153 Prosecutors said today they have arrested 45 people and indicted 108 without detention in connection with an illegal arcade gaming scandal that erupted last year. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office today announced the results of its six-month probe into the “Sea Story” scandal, involving lawmakers, high-ranking government officials, gang members, arcade businesspeople and gift certificate issuers. A popular video slot game, “The Sea Story” was outlawed last year because arcades were found to be rigging the machines to raise betting stakes above the legal limit. Prosecutors then launched extraordinary

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