Restrictions on Foreigners Purchasing Property in Korea

Foreigner Purchasing Property in Korea is not longer restricted for most acquisitions.  An article on Korean Real Estate can be found at: Korean Real Estate Acquisition Taxes. Dear Sean Hayes: I was informed that there are limitations on foreigners purchasing property in Korea. I would like to purchase an apartment and was wondering what restrictions are on foreigners in purchasing property in Korea. What does a foreigner need to do to purchase property in Korea and is it true that foreigners need advance permission from the government to purchase property? Renter in Itaewon. Dear Renter: In 1998 Korea liberalized many of its laws concerning foreigners, including the Foreigners’ Land Acquisition Act. Many further liberalizations also occurred under the present administration. The changes in the treatment of foreigners were a direct reaction to the financial crisis that hit Korea and most of the rest of Asia. Many of the changes were

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Kwangju Mayor’s Case Not Planned

Kwangju Mayor’s Case Not Planned Korea Times 11-14-2005 by Sean Hayes Dear Attorney Hayes: Why did a San Francisco Airport search for over an hour a mayor of a major Korean city? Is this just the U.S. trying to punish Koreans for not permissively following America? If the mayor is treated like this how will an average citizen be treated? From Worried and Angry in Yosu. Dear Worried: According to Kwangju Mayor Park Gwang-tae, on Wednesday morning, the mayor and 18 members of his entourage were delayed in a San Francisco Airport for over an hour and a half. All members’ bags and personnel belongings were thoroughly searched. The group was visiting the U.S. to pitch investment opportunities in the Kwangju area. The mayor, after and during the screening process, was furious and called for the U.S. to withdraw patriot missiles from the Kwangju area, for the U.S. government to

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Sean Hayes: First expat in Korea’s constitutional court

Article Appeared in the Korea Times in 2003First expat in Korea’s constitutional court2003.04.17 In a homogenous society like Korea, one may suspect the Constitutional Court, one of the nation’s highest constitutional bodies representative of the people, to be homogeneous as well. But when all the members of this exclusive organization gather together, a discrepancy is hard to miss. Meet Sean Hayes. He is the first and only foreigner ever hired by the Court. He is also its youngest member. Sean Hayes is The Korea Herald`s new face in legal advice starting next week in a column called “Legal-Ease.” Ten months ago, he assumed the role of a Constitutional Research Officer (CRO), a position appointed by the president of the Constitutional Court. CROs bear the important responsibility of conducting investigations and research concerning the adjudication of cases under the direction of the Constitutional Court president. “I am not only honored to

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Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Korean Courts

Enforcement of U.S., European and other Foreign Court Judgments in Korean Courts.  For a more comprehensive article on this issue please see: Execution of Foreign Judgments in Korean Courts. Dear Sean, I have a judgment in a New York court against a Korean importer. I shipped my goods to the company and the company refuses to answer my calls, e-mails, and letters. I sued and won a default judgment in a New York State court. No assets were found in the U.S. I believe the company have assets in Korea. How can I enforce the judgment? / Cashed out in New York. Dear Cashed out in New York: A Korean court should enforce your judgment. Most foreign commercial judgments are enforced with little difficulty. A Korean court requires proper service of process under the Hague Convention, that the New York court had jurisdiction over the dispute, that the New York

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Preliminary Attachments Encourage Settlements

Preliminary Attachments Encourage Settlements Appeared in the Korea Times on August 23, 2007.by Sean Hayes Dear Attorney Sean Hayes: I shipped items to a Korean retailer and I have not been paid. After the items were shipped, the retailer has been impossible to contact. The retailer will not return my calls, letters or e-mails. How can I get them to pay for the goods? Unpaid in Hong Kong. Dear Unpaid: One of the quickest and most cost effective ways to obtain money owed is to file for a preliminary attachment. A preliminary attachment often encourages defendants to settle a case. A preliminary attachment may be filed prior to the commencement of formal court proceedings. Before filing for an attachment you must send a demand letter. A demand letter is often more effective in encouraging payment if it is sent by a law firm. A law firm will charge a modest

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Foreigners’ Drug Use in Korea

Foreigners’ Drug Use Appeared in Korea Times on September 7, 2007. Dear Professor Sean Hayes: I have been charged with the consumption and possession of drugs. I am being held at a detention center south of Seoul. I was arrested in Itaewon and tested positive for THC (marijuana). My home was searched and they found marijuana in my house. What can I do? I don’t want to serve time in jail. Nervously awaiting my fate (summation of a phone call). Dear Nervous: A major Korean TV network did a comprehensive story on the criminal behavior of English teachers in Korea. In the story, one Canadian teacher contended that two out of every 10 English teachers use drugs and many teachers use fake diplomas. Obviously, the teacher overstated the problem. If these new stories spread, I suspect an increasing number of arrests and prosecutions. Do not do drugs in Korea. Leave

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Sham Marriage in Land of the Free

Sham Marriage in Land of the Free Dear Attorney Sean Hayes: I am a Korean wife of an American contractor who wants to divorce me. I have a conditional permanent residency based on marriage that allows me to stay in the U.S. I am concerned that after divorcing I will lose my permanent residency. Can I get divorced and retain my permanent residency if my husband doesn’t sign a petition to remove the conditions on residency? Concerned in Seoul Dear Concerned: The Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) status, based on marriage, must be based on a bona fide or good faith marriage. In order to assist immigration to determine that the marriage is bona fide, Congress wrote a special provision in the law that makes the LPR status based on marriage “conditional’’ for the first two years of marriage. Before the end of the two-year conditional period, the couple must file

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Ex-police chief arrested for alleged cover-up of revenge

Ex-police chief arrested for alleged cover-up of revenge A Seoul court issued an arrest warrant late Thursday for a former Seoul police station chief accused of trying to cover up an alleged assault involving a local tycoon, according to Yonhap News Agency. Jang Hee-gon, the former head of the Namdaemun Police Station in downtown Seoul, is suspected of abusing power and neglecting duty by ordering subordinates to stop an investigation into the case involving Kim Seung-youn, chairman of Hanwha Group. Jang effectively held up the case for more than a month until it attracted wide media attention in late April. [email protected]

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Corporate Downsizing the Korean Way

Corporate Downsizing the Korean Way Appeared in the Korea Times on May 18, 2007Lex Pro Bono Column Dear Professor Sean Hayes, I am working for a company that has notified us that they will layoff around 25 workers. I heard that under the Korean Labor Law an employer cannot dismiss employees without just cause. Is this true and what can I do to protect my job? Worried in Yeouido. Dear Worried, the Korean Labor Law provides some protection from dismissal by employers, but provides little protection for employees that are dismissed because of serious economic difficulties facing an employer. Korean Labor Law is codified in the Korean Labor Standards Act (LSA). The LSA is a statute that dictates the working standards for most workplaces. The statute is vague and most of its language has been developed through case law. Article 30 and 31 of the LSA assist in guaranteeing employment

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Poor Education Leads to Poor Lawyers

Appeared in Korea Times on May 3, 2007Lex Pro Bono by Sean Hayes Dear Prof. Hayes: My company and I have run into a few legal difficulties when doing business and residing in Korea. I found that the legal fees are very high and the legal representation was poor. I question the education of many Korean lawyers. How are they educated and what do you need to do to become a lawyer?Foreign Resident of Seoul. Dear Foreign Resident: To become an attorney in Korea you need to pass the judicial exam and then attend the Judicial Research and Training Institute (JRTI). At present the system allows only 1,000 students to pass the judicial examination. Facially the cap is to prevent those not qualified from becoming attorneys. After passing the judicial exam all test passers must attend the JRTI. The institute is a two-year study program run by the Supreme Court.

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Immigrating to the U.S.

Appeared in the Korea Herald Jan. 31, 2004 Legal Ease Column by Sean Hayes Dear Sean: I’m an American citizen who married a Korean national three years ago. We intend to move to the U.S. this year. What is the most expedient way to navigate the complicated process? Bewildered in Seoul. Dear Bewildered: The process to obtain a “green card” (permanent residency) for your spouse seems to be a daunting one, but with a little patience, a lot of time, and the willingness to jump through some often useless hoops you will succeed in your endeavor. Few applicants that are “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens that properly fill-out all forms, have an adequate source of income, and have not violated and laws or previously been expected of filing false information to the U.S. government are denied the benefit of a green card. “Immediate relatives” of a U.S. citizen refers to

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Honeymoon Divorce to Guam

Appeared in the Korea Times on April 4, 2007 Honeymoon Divorce to Guam Dear Attorney Sean Hayes: I am a soldier stationed atCamp Kim. I am married and am in need of a divorce. We have no children, no property, and my wife does notwant alimony. I am engaged to a Korean woman and wehave planed to get married this summer. I haveexplored getting a divorce in Korea, but the time,cost, and language is a difficulty. My wife also willnot initiate the divorce in the states. She says Ishould initiate the divorce. What is the easiest andmost cost effective way to receive a divorce?Sergeant Hopeful in Korea. Dear Sergeant Hopeful: One of the most expedient,straight-forward, and cost effective ways to receive adivorce is to file your divorce in Guam. Yes, SergeantHopeful –Guam. A suitable option to your situation is to have yourdivorce and honeymoon at the same time in Guam.

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Middle school girl gang-raped by classmates: police

Hankyoreh March, 30, 2007 Middle school girl gang-raped by classmates: police Assault underscores need for sex education overhaul, experts say A group of South Korean male middle school students were arrested for allegedly having repeatedly gang-raped a female classmate on school grounds, sending shockwaves across the nation. Regarding the alleged attacks, experts say that teenagers are exposed to pornograghic films and images without receiving proper sex education, and thus do not show sensitivity toward sexual violence. Police said that the sexual assaults began in February, when six male middle school students, all 14, in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province allegedly coaxed one of their female classmates, also 14, to a corner of their school playground and raped her. After the initial assault, the boys allegedly blackmailed the victim, saying that they would tell their classmates what they did if she did not obey them. They later allegedly raped her again in an

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Cabinet to review constitutional bill

Korea Times March 30, 2007 The Cabinet is expected to deliberate Presidential Roh Moo-hyun’s proposal for a constitutional revision as early as April 10, despite lukewarm responses from the public and political circles. “I think the draft revision could be presented to a Cabinet meeting on April 10,” Chief of Staff Moon Jae-in told reporters yesterday. He added that Roh will introduce the change in the April parliamentary session at the latest. The bill designed to allow for two consecutive four-year presidential terms would have to be put to a vote in the parliament within 60 days of the introduction of the president’s initiative. Moon bristled over attacks from the opposition Grand National Party about the government’s publicity campaign for the change. The GNP accused Cheong Wa Dae of engaging in illegal pre-election campaigning by encouraging government agencies to promote its revision drive to the public. A constitutional revision requires

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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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Canadian Ambassador Claims English Teachers not Exploited

An article in the Korea Herald on the March 23rd reports on the Canadian Ambassador’s claims that English teachers are not exploited in Korea, and that a liaison for English teachers is not needed in Korea. The reporter questions whether he has enough experience to really know. Interesting article. English teachers not exploited: envoy To the best of his knowledge, rife exploitation of English teachers by unscrupulous school directors does not exist in Korea, and there does not seem to be a need for a designated liaison for disgruntled English teachers at the embassy, Canadian Ambassador Marius R. Grinius said in an interview with The Korea Herald. “I do meet a lot of teachers and I have yet to meet somebody that said to me, ‘I have a really serious problem.’ It hasn’t happened to me yet,” said the ambassador. “The overwhelming experience (of English teachers) is positive; yet, unscrupulous

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25 instructors booked for fake diplomas

Korea Times March 21, 2007 Police yesterday booked 25 instructors at private institutes in Seoul on charges of forging their college diplomas. The National Police Agency sought an arrest warrant for the director of an institute in Seodaemun-gu, northwestern Seoul, while the rest are being investigated without detention. The 40-year-old director, identified as Lee, is accused of paying 5 million won ($5,300) to a broker in December 2004, and receiving five copies of diplomas from Seoul National University. Police said that since 1999 Lee had fraudulently claimed that he was an SNU graduate and taught Korean and comprehensive writing. He also accepted forged diplomas from 20 teachers he hired, earning a total 620 million won. “We’ve investigated 4,500 teachers at private institutes in Seoul who claimed to have graduated from Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University, and found out that 25 of them were fakes,” a police investigator

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Luxury 秀 노래방 -Technical Mark? (descriptive mark)

This is a post that appeared on IP Law Blog on the “quality” of goods not being something that can registered as a trademark. Luxury 秀 노래방 We all know the basic principle of trademark law that is applicable in most jurisdictions regardless of whether the jurisdiction has the common law tradition or the civil law tradition, which is that a word or words indicating the quality or quantity of goods (or services) are not registrable as trademark. This principle is incorporated in Article 6 of the Trademark Act of Korea: Article 6 Requirements for Trademark Registration (1) Trademark registration may be obtained except in any of the following cases: (i) where the mark consists solely of a sign indicating, in a common way, the usual name of the goods;(ii) where the mark is customarily used on the goods;(iii) where the mark consists solely of a sign indicating, in a

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Conscientious Military Objectors Surpass 12,000

By Park Chung-a Korea Times More than 12,000 people have been imprisoned for refusing mandatory military service over 66 years, according to an association of family members of conscientious objectors. The organization said it estimates that 12,324 conscientious objectors were sentenced to a total of 25,483 years of imprisonment from 1950 until May 31, 2006. The number of those who served twice in prison is 289. The research was done from March to April in 2006 through phone and paper interviews with military objectors including Jehovah’s Witnesses, who account for the largest portion of them. It is the first time that the number has been calculated, as the government has been reluctant to conduct official research on it. About 50 percent or 6,328 of the respondents said that they suffered from at least three kinds of harsh treatment while serving in prison. The most common form of torture was standing

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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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