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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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 restrictions on the ownership of non-financial corporations, reserve requirements and the 8 percent BIS (Bank for International Settlements) capital ratio. Authorizing brokerages to process payments should be dealt with separately from the capital market consolidation act, they insist. Observers say that if the bill fails to pass the National Assembly

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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 undergo court arbitration with the couple in attendance. The government revised the Protection and Resettlement for North Korean Defectors Act on Jan. 26 to plug the loophole. A special provision has been added to the law, allowing the court to proceed with divorce cases only if the petitioner proves that

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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 Practice Team may be contacted at: [email protected] www.ipglegal.com _________ Audit Board Will Look Over FTA Negotiations FEBRUARY 27, 2007 Donga Ilbo (TRANSLATION) The Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea (BAI) has decided to audit the ongoing Korea-US (KORUS) FTA negotiations by implementing a monitoring system. With regard to the

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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 of HIV-infected people and AIDS patients should be guaranteed. The recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission has no binding effect. The commission opined that the mandatory testing of women for HIV/AIDS was discriminatory because 90 percent of the reported HIV positive cases concerns males.Many are already pointing out the

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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 distrust. He also encouraged judges to make rulings based on courtroom testimony rather than relying on the prosecution’s investigative reports, which are submitted beforehand. “Public trust in the court system can only be recovered when judges make rulings based on the testimony given at a public hearing,” Mr. Kim said.

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