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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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 plan to settle them in two rounds of high-level negotiations after this round wraps up. Korean top negotiator Kim Jong-hoon told reporters on Sunday, the fourth day of talks, that Korea’s attempt to protect its agricultural market and the U.S.’ demand that Korea change its car tax regime based on

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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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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, established in 1978, limited payment to lawyers representing the state. Lawyers used to receive a 2 million won retaining fee when the amount of claimed money in the suit was less than 50 million won; 3 million won in a 50-100 million won suit; and 5 million won when the

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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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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. [email protected]

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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 that intellectual assets can lead to new forms of “complex… systems of (economic) webs and interrelationships.” * OECD Plenary Speaks on ‘Intellectual Assets and Value Creation’ The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a plenary session, titled, “Intellectual Assets and Value Creation” with government and private industry representatives

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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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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 [email protected]

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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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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 illegal ethnic Koreans. Those who have overstayed their visa by less than a year and hold an F-1-4 visa or an E-9 visa, will be allowed to switch to the new H-2 visa. For most ethnic Koreans from the regions, two visas have been issued; one-year F-1-4 visa, which requires

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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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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. [email protected]

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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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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 and of duty. “Immoderate interrogation, yes, request for false statement, no”- The special investigation team revealed at a briefing this day that, “The interrogation method was immoderate and harsh language was used at some point, but it was found that [the prosecutor] did not ask for forged statements.” The most

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