Korean Intestate Succession Law: Inheriting Property from your Korean-National Parents

We assist numerous clients concerning intestate succession issues in Korea. Many of these clients are foreigners who are children of a Korean decedent who passed away without a will. Typically, the clients are in need of an asset scrub and assistance in the transfer of the assets to the name of the client and forwarding of the funds overseas. Please note this present article deals, solely, with Interstate Succession under Korean Law. If your parent was, solely, a national of Korea, in most cases, the laws of the Republic of Korea shall apply to the estate of your parent. The relevant law can be found at: Korean Civil Act Part V (Inheritance) For an additional article on Korean inheritance law please see: Korean Inheritance Law: Who Inherits What, When & How in Korea. Inheritance Priority under Korean Interstate Succession Law? The rank of priorities, in Korea, for a person that

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Finding a Korean Lawyer/Law Firm for your Business in Korea

We obtain numerous emails and calls from potential clients in search of a great Korean lawyer for companies doing business in Korea.  The majority of these intakes come from referrals from present clients, referrals from other lawyers and a couple trickle in via this blog. From our contacts, we believe that many businesses in Korea are having a difficult finding attorneys in Korea that have business savvy, the ability to efficiently work for the client and/or an inability to handle the issues the client is handling.  The situation seems to stem, primarily, from the high cost of top-notch legal services in the Korea and the lack of many top-notch Korean lawyers working in business space for expat businesses.  Additionally, many lawyers, in Korea, are plagued with conflicts. Finding a Lawyer for the Needs of your Business in Korea Consider the following when hiring an Korean Lawyer or Law Firm in

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How to Invest in Korean Free Economic Zones (KFEZs): Korean Market Entry

Korean Free Economic Zones (KFEZs) are specially designated areas designed to improve the business and living environments for foreign firms looking to invest in Korea. In 2003, Korea’s very first KFEZ was launched in Incheon following the passing of the adoption of the “Act on Designation and Management of the Free Economic Zones.” Since then an additional seven have begun operation, bringing the grand total of KFEZs in Korea to eight. Companies with business in KFEZs are eligible for tax credits and other incentives under the Foreign Investment Promotion Act (FIPA). FIPA’s recent amendments passed in 2019 to provide better analysis on FDI impact on the Korean economy. For an article on this issue please: Revision to Korea’s Foreign Investment Promotion Act. As shown above, there are KFEZs operating in Incheon, Busan-Jinhae, Gwangyang Bay Area, Daegu-Gyeongbuk, Saemangeum-Gunsan, the Yellow Sea Coastal Area, and in Chungbuk. Each FEZ focuses on attracting

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Korean Waste Control Act Amendments of 2019

As a reaction to several accidents in waste storage facilities, the Korean National Assembly passed an an Amendment to the Korean Waste Control Act on March 28, 2019. The amendment puts in place, a more transparent measures and rules for waste-storage facilities. Major Amendments to the Korean Wastes Control Act Set of safety measures for waste-collecting vehicles. More specific safety rules for waste-storage facilities. Implementation by the Korean Ministry of Environment to conduct an annual safety inspection and survey on waste treatment business facilities. Violation of Safety Measures as per the Amended Waste Control Act A violation of these safety regulations can result in a partial or total suspension of the waste business operations of the concerning company. Additionally, shareholders and directors may be criminally punished for up to two years or a fine of up to KRW 20,000,000. For the current Waste Control Act of Korean please see: Korean

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The Korean Corporate Restructuring Promotion Act of 2018: Korean Insolvency Law Updates

The recently enacted Korean Corporate Restructuring Promotion Act (hereinafter as “CRPA”) focuses on facilitating “…constant corporate restructuring and promotes the stabilization of financial markets and the development of the national economy, by providing for matters necessary to promptly and efficiently implement corporate improvement of enterprises with signs of insolvency.” (Art 1 (Purpose) CRPA). The CRPA is intended to facilitate out-of-Korean-court restructuring procedures. Often, debtors prefer out-of-court proceedings over in-court proceeding, because the belief that out-of-court proceedings shall lead to more flexibility and less costs. In October 2018 a revised version of CRPA 2016 entered into force. The revised CRPA, provides eased legal conditions for creditor banks. The key amendments to Korean CRPA 2018 are noted below. Liability-Exemption for Creditors Acts and Omissions Creditor financial institutions, their officers and employees have liability while restructuring a debtor company. But they shall not be responsible for the results, if they properly fulfilled their

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Korean Data Privacy Act: Need for Compliance Audit for your Korean Company

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) focuses on the data security of personal data of users of the internet. As the EU offers a potentially lucrative market for online businesses for many Korean companies, South Korea was eager to amend its existing Act on the Promotion of IT Network Use and Information Protection of Korea (“Korean Network Act”) based, at least, partially on bench-marking of the EU GDPR. We suggest all companies, doing business in Korea, conduct via a professional in data privacy – a compliance audit. We suggest the professional has an understanding of not, only, Korean Law, but the law of the European Union as it relates to data privacy. Fines and criminal penalties for violation of data privacy laws have increased in Korea. Korean Network ActThe Korean Network Act was amended in December of 2018. Korea, the EU and other nations are in ongoing

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Exclusion of Japan from Export/Import White List

South Korea is on track toward barring Japan from its export control white list this month, in a blow for blow reaction to Tokyo’s prior choice to expel Seoul from its favored nation trading regime. On July 1, 2019 the Japanese government restricted the export to Korea of three classes of materials: fluorinated polyimide, photoresist and hydrogen fluoride.  These chemicals are utilized in important export-driven manufacturing operations in Korea.  Seemingly, the restriction is in reaction to a Korean Supreme Court case concerning liability of Japanese companies to the Korean victims of WWII sex slavery. Starting in July, the total volume of imports of these three materials remained at $800 billion and represented around 1.8 percent of all imports from Japan. The restrictions have not prompted any imminent problems for Korean manufacturer according to the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy. It was announced by the Korean Ministry of Trade,

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Amendment to Korea’s Occupational Safety and Health Act in 2019

The amended Occupational Safety and Health Act of Korea (hereinafter as “OSHA”) entered into force on January 15, 2019. One major aspect of the revision is that it has raised the risk of liability of representatives of institutions and companies and companies for workplace industries in Korea. The amended Korean OSHA law is expected to increase the risk to company management, increase liability of companies and increase options for employees that are perceived to have been harmed because of the actions or inaction of employers. Korean OSHA Basics Importer or Manufacturer of harmful and/or dangerous chemicals should draft a Material Safety Data Sheet and send it to the Ministry of Employment & Labor for approval. The Material Safety Sheet is publicly published – in most cases. Hazardous work shall not be contracted out by companies to third parties. However the amendment provides some notable exceptions (beyond the scope of this

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Succeeding in Business in Korea

Since 1977, I have observed the rise and fall of many foreign companies in South Korea. I have witnessed the trials and tribulations as a bank employee, a high-tech salesman, a country manager and as a business consultant of foreign and Korean companies doing business in Korea . Bluntly speaking, while some foreign ventures have had some unlucky breaks, those companies that have succeeded in the Korean market have done so for good reasons.  And those who have failed have done so, largely, because of their own inadequacies and often the lack of understanding of the needs of businesses in the Korean market. Those companies who for a period “succeed” do so by largely having some kind of a monopoly in technology, a lock on a particular resource, or an overwhelming marketing advantage that makes Korean copycats look decidedly second class.  But many initially successful companies ultimately fail by not getting adequately

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Starting a Company in Korea: Establishing a Foreign Capital-Invested Korean Company, Branch or Liaison Office

Korea, for many businesses, is an excellent market to enter.  We assist numerous franchisers, tech companies, chemical companies, oil & gas companies, automotive suppliers, defense companies and basic manufacturing companies on compliance and contentious issues related to their business in Korea.  We, also, assist entrepreneurial individuals in establishing and doing business in Korea. To establish a company in Korea, there are, in short, three legal manners for a foreign company or individual to do business in the Korean Market.  A business may enter as a Foreign Capital-Invested Company (Foreign Direct Investment Company), a Branch or Liaison Office.  In most situations, the most suitable manner to enter the Korean market is via the FDI Company route in order to avail of certain favorable tax treatments, not expose the foreign entity to liability, easier remittance of profits and easier processing of visas. However, many exceptions to this general rule do exist.  The

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Leading Attorneys in Korea: Sean Hayes One of Only Two Non-Koreans on List of Top Lawyers in South Korea

We are proud to announce that Sean Hayes has recently been listed by Asia Law as one of the top  attorneys working in South Korea. Leading Lawyers/Law Firms in Korea by AsiaLaw. Sean Hayes, IPG Legal Yong Seok Ahn, Lee & Ko Heejae Ahn, Yoon & Yang LLC Jay Ahn, Kim & Chang Henry An, Samil PricewatersCoopers Woo Hyun Baik, Kim & Chang Chad Chang Hoon Lee, Muhann Patent & Law Firm Yong-Jae Chang, Lee & Ko Tae Yeon Cho, Cho & Partners Young Joon Cho, Bae Kim & Lee Young Sun Cho, Yoon & Yang LLC J H Choi, Choi & Kim Jae Seong Choi, Barun Law Kyung Joon Choi, Kim Chang & Lee Woo Young Choi, Hwang Mok Park Hyunseok Choi, You Me Patent & Law Firm Won-Hyun Choi, Kim Choi & Lim Won Sik Choo, Lee & Ko Eui Jong Chung, Bae Kim & Lee Kye Sung

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[News] Ex-governor Found Guilty and Sentenced for Rape

The Supreme Court reached a consensus for former South Chungcheong Province Governor An Hee-jung’s sentence for raping his female assistant, in the nation’s most noteworthy profile #Metoo movement scandal. The Supreme Court on September 9, 2019 confirmed that An Hee-Jung should serve a 3 ½ year prison sentence for his crime against his secretary. The Supreme Court stated that “The victim’s testimony is deemed credible given that it is consistent and very detailed without parts that are inconsistent.” The Supreme Court also said that An had abused his high position in order to intimidate Kim whom at the time was his aide and subordinate. He repeatedly assaulted her over and over again from August 2017 to February last year. Appealing the Lower Court’s prior verdict of not guilty, the Seoul High Court sentenced An to 3 ½ years in prison and also ordered him to participate in a sexual violence

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