Kim Yeon-ah saying goodbye

May 7th, 2014 · Photos, Sports · 0 comments

It’s the end of an era this year.

Though officially retired, the great skater performed in Seoul recently as part of the Samsung Galaxy-Smart Aircon All That Skate 2014.

President Park Pays Tribute to Sewol Ferry Victims

April 29th, 2014 · Photos · 0 comments

On the morning of the 29th, Pres. Park Geun-hye attended a memorial service for the victims of the Sewol Ferry tragedy.

A brief look at sentencing factors in South Korean courts

April 18th, 2014 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals, Legal news · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.


A case in which a stepdaughter was abused and beaten to death is the second such case recently.

Yet the difference in the prison sentences in the two cases is a full five years.

The reason?

Our reporter Jang Dong-woo went looking for answers.


Courts in Ulsan and Chilgok that recently considered defendants accused of beating their stepdaughters to death handed down sentences of 15 and 10 years.

Both defendants were accused of homicide resulting from bodily injury.

The charge of homicide resulting from bodily injury carries a sentence ranging from three to five years, but if the crime is committed against a family member the maximum increases to seven years and if committed against a family member a second time then the maximum increases by half and can reach 10 years and six months.

Factor weighing in favor of a heavy punishment are if the crime is committed more than once, if the victim is a family member or ancestor, or if the crime is particularly heinous.

The Daegu District Court that handled the case of the stepmother in Chilgok found that the standard for the maximum sentence was met, and the Ulsan District Court found that the standard was greatly exceeded.

In the case of the Ulsan stepmother, the sentence was enhanced because the death of the child, just two hours after the assault, was quite cruel and she had three prior arrests for injurious assault.

In the Chilgok case the indictment was for a violation of the Child Welfar Law, not for assault, so sentence enhancments did not apply.

< Lee Jong-gil / Daegu District Court Judge> “Under the sentencing guidelines, the sentence in this case of homicide by bodily injury could range from four year to 10 years and six months and in this case, I believe a sentence of 10 years was appropriate.”

However, legal experts say that had the Chilgok case been brought for assault, which would have made it eligible for sentence enhancement, it would have been eligible for sentence enhancement the same as the Ulsan case.

 This is Jang Dong-woo for News Y.

For more on the Ulsan case, see this article in Korean (warning: disturbing X-ray photo at top of page).

A rundown of cults active on Korean campuses

March 28th, 2014 · Education and ESL, Society · 0 comments

Reader Peter Daley requested a translation of this article warning of the three cults that put the most effort into recruiting Korean university students.

A minister at the undergraduate division of a large church in Seoul had a dilemma. Was it possible to hold an effective undergraduate lecture on the subject of cults? It would be like a vaccination against cults. Just one lecture could have a big effect. Students who simply attend an anti-cult lecture would be that much more vigilant against them.

On the other hand, it is not easy to return after falling under the sway of a cult. Coming out to discussions on cults would mean having to endure bone-cutting torment. Simply having the discussion would mean the blossoming of mistrust with one’s family and a breach of credibility between one and one’s family. So, from the beginning it is very important to prevent people from falling in with a cult. 30 minutes on a Sunday would be good. Young and student pastors can obtain very good results just by reading the materials below and showing photos, then offering simple explanations.

Three Cults Easily Heard of On University Campuses

Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (Shincheonji, Founded by Lee Man-hui)

Shincheonji was founded on March 14, 1984 by Lee Man-hui (84), who had come from the Evangelism Center of Park Tae-seon. It is the goal of Shincheonji that adherents believe the 84-year old laborer named Lee Man-hui to be the savior of our age and an immortal leader and that the church he founded is the only place to achieve salvation. It may be a fantastical, narrow-minded, closed-off place, but despite this there is a simple reason young people can easily fall in with it.

It is because their way of luring people in is nothing like the widespread prevalence of common-sense ideas about how people are approached by cults. Shincheonji followers disguise themselves in a totally different way from the typical approach and come up to you, so unwary followers of traditional religions wind up being betrayed. They approach these young people with a cultural code that attracts their interest, including doing surveys. They also form a club for Shincheonji followers on campus.

Or, at a blind date one meets a member of the opposite sex who is actually a Shincheonji follower. They could be an older student or mentor who offers help with a problem. They could disguise themselves as a minister or missionary. They could approach as a mindreading minister with direct revelations from God (you must be careful not to fall for a Shincheonji fortunetelling team).

Shincheonji was classified as a cult by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Korea in 1995, being named at the time as a “group that deserves no theologically valuable analysis,” and re-classified as a cult in 2007 by the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Hapdong). It has also been classified as a cult by Korea Evangelical Holiness Church (1999), the Korean Presbyterian Church (1999). the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Koshin) (2005), and the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Daeshin) (2008).

JMS (Jeong Myeong-seok) – Christian Gospel Mission

When one refers to the “Big 3” cults, that usually means Shincheonji, the Salvation Church, and the Ahn Sang-hong Witness Church. But there is a small difference as to the Big 3 to worry about on university campuses. It seems more appropriate to replace the Ahn Sang-hong Witness Church with Jeong Myeong-seok. This is because JMS actively pursues new followers, targeting first-year university students. JMS started as Jeong Myeong-seok (70 years old), who once was a teacher in the Unification Church, and founded the Ae-cheon Church in Namgajwa-dong, Seoul in 1980.

They have expanded their congregations by targeting young adults and university students. They also changed their names frequently, and their past names include World Youth University Students MS Federation, East-West Christian Uniton, and International Christian Union, and now they are called Christian Gospel Mission.

JMS claims that Christ reincarnated in a human body to be born in 1945 in Korea (JMS himself was born in 1945). He also claims that people who read, believe, and follow the book titled “Word of Salvation,” written by JMS, will be saved. He argues that good and evil and depravity are sexual depravity, and the modern day is the ‘Lover’s Era’ among the different ‘eras’ of salvation.

Example of JMS font

Example of JMS font

It helps to distinguish him if you can remember JMS’s unique style of fonts. If there is a building or an organization using the same style of fonts as shown in the above photo, you can assume that building or organization is related to JMS. That is because that very style of fonts is the unique one used by JMS himself. The name of the institution is usually Christian Gospel Mission, and the name of denomination is often Methodist Jesus Church of Korea.

If you attend a Bible study because someone asked; if you see the unusual number of female pastors, usually taller than 168cm, teaching the Bible in the organization; if they hang a picture of Jesus titled ‘Astral Body of Jesus’ in the organization; if they have a headquarters in Weolmyeong-dong in Daejeon and call their leader the ‘governor’; and if that governor happens to have read the Bible more than 2,000 times, you can surely assume they are members of JMS, Christian Gospel Mission.

Recently in JMS, ‘female leadership’ has made a sudden rise. Jeong Jo-eun, a young woman, is called an apostle and she herself preaches. JMS has been classified as an anti-Christian cult by the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Koshin) in its 41st assembly in 1991, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Korea in its 87th assembly in 2002, and the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Hapdong) in its 93rd assembly in 2008.

Salvation Church (Park Ock-Soo Faction) International Youth Fellowship (IYF)

There are three factions in the Salvation Church. They are the Kwon Shin-chan (deceased)-Yoo Byeong-Eon faction, the Lee Yo-han faction, and the Park Ock-soo faction. All of them have been officially classified as cults by the main denominations of Korean churches. These denominations include the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Hapdong) (2008/93rd assembly/cult), the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (1992/77th assembly/cult), the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Koshin) (1991/41st assembly/cult), the Korea Evangelical Holiness Church (1985, 40th assembly/false religion cult) and so forth.

And Park Ock-soo has stirred controversy as he preached on July 7, 2009, thatf “I can live as a little Jesus and every single one of you are Jesus as well”. This is problematic because he is not saying that he is a ‘little Jesus’ as he follows Jesus, but rather that one actually becomes a little Jesus when he accepts Jesus in his heart, which seems to be deification theology.

Young university students must be extra cautious as IYF seeks both believers in Christianity and non-Christians usingvarious social and cultural approaches including English Speaking Competitions, Invited Lectures of Celebrities, International Volunteering (Good News Co), Return Conferences, Global Camps, Culture (International Culture Exhibition), musicals, local volunteering, concerts, and photo/drawing exhibitions.

You should also be cautious when you encounter △an organization that promotes dropping out of school and running away from home by extremely emphasizing the end of the world△an exclusive mission organization that prohibits attending local churches and considers only themselves as the disciples of Christ △university campus Bible lectures by pastors whose denomination or theology cannot be seen as transparent and sound △unverified sermons found in Internet sources including YouTube. This is for the same reason you do not want to try unsanitary food out of curiosity or try drugs by mistake.

Jin Yong-sik, President of Korea Christian Cult Counseling Center Institute expressed his view that an organization can be considered as a cult or a problematic religious organization if it teaches below concepts. Below is the list of concepts taught by cults.

Figurative Bible
Rather than analyzing by reading the context and the flow of sentences in the Bible, the cults argue that Bible must be read as a figurative speech, and mix and match specific passages from both Testaments.

Secretive Teaching
Gospel is nothing to be ashamed of or hidden, but the cults teach the Bible and tell you that you should not talk about this to your pastors and parents.

Different Saviors for Different Eras
Although Jesus is the Savior of all, past, present, and forever, the cults do not teach that but rather claim that there are different saviors for different eras, arguing that Noah, Moses, and Abraham were saviors, Jesus was the Savior in the New Testament era, but now we are to believe in a different savior in the end of the world.

Scriptures Other than the Bible
The Bible is the one and only Word of God, but the cults call the Bible out of date, bring their own new book and call it the truth of the new era.

Extreme Criticisms of the Church
When a church suffers a wound, they should help by praying and suffering together, but the cults rather emphasize and criticize the fallen state of the church, calling it a hypocritical religious organization. It sounds as if they are saying that the church has lost the truth and one should follow a new way of truth and salvation. They attack pastors of traditional churches as Pharisees and false shepherds.

Eschatology with Timing
The Bible clearly spoke of the day and time of Jesus’ coming, but the cults emphasize the exact date of the end and the Advent, and force blind obedience. Also, they lie with the idea of a conditional end of the world, saying the quota of 144,000 believers will be reached within 2-3 years for example.

Argument that the ‘East’ refers to Korea
The ‘East’ in the Bible refers to the Palestine region, which is east of Israel, but the cults interpret it as Korea and pose an unreasonable logic by matching the scriptures with specific places or incidents of specific organizations in Korea.

Direct Revelations
The cults exaggerate that their leaders have direct revelations from God, and the new revelations are the first in the 2,000 years since Jesus. And they claim that their leader has heard the voice of God, and they stir fear in people that they will be cursed if they do not listen to their leader.

Extreme Exclusiveness
The cults claim that there is no salvation in any other churches, and that their organization is the only one with salvation, denying salvation and truth by existing traditional churches.

Bankruptcy process opposed for local agencies

February 16th, 2014 · Economy and Worklife, Legal news · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.

The Gyeonggi-do provincial government is opposed to the introduction of a bankruptcy process for local public entities (지방자치단체).

The province annouonced that, “a system of bankruptcy for local public entities would give the central government considerable power over local finances, violating fiscal autonomy and destroying the foundation for local entities, so it is unacceptable.”

The province argued that there should be first discussions over reforms to the current 8-to-2 ratio of national and local taxes. It suggested the 6-to-4 ratio found in advanced countries such as the United States and Japan.

The province also expressed the opinon that the introduction of a bankrupcty system is inappropriate considering the current situation in which the government is placing additional burdens on provinces to pay for social services, worsening the state of local finances.

This year Gyeonggi-do’s expected budget for social services is 5.5267 trillion won, 34.5% of its total budget of 15.9906 trillion won.

A member of the Gyeonggi-do Office of Planning and Coordination said that “the government has already begun instituting its pre-warning system for local entities’ finances, so it’s difficult to see any need for this additional bankruptcy system… what is needed is pre-emptive financial management that enlarges local finances.”

Today the Ministry of Security and Public Administration reported to President Park Geun-hye its 2014 Business Promotion Plan (2014년 업무추진계획), which contains the substance of the bankruptcy system for local public entities.

MSPA head Yu Jeong-bok said that “a bankruptcy system for local public entities is not intended to implement restrictions of last resort when an elected official commits financial mismanagment rather than shift the responsibility for a bankruptcy onto the citizens… this will lead to a return to sound financial management.”

The bankruptcy system for local public entities is intended to have the government or high-grade agencies intervene to promote the financial recovery of local public entities which have defaulted on loans or committed other acts that make it difficult to recover financially.

It is different from the bankruptcy system for businesses, which involves the dispersal or liquidation of legal persons. It is similar to the work-out system in which a business that still has value is saved through a restructuring.

Law allows Korean employers to avoid holiday pay

February 12th, 2014 · Economy and Worklife, Legal news · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.

<Anchor comment>

The number of “red days,” public holidays on which there is no work, total 67 this year.

You may think that you would receive extra holiday pay if you go into work on a holiday, but there many times that is not true.

On Seollal, Chuseok, and other holidays as well as national holidays and Christmas, you might not receive holiday pay even if you work.

This is because of the holiday clauses in the Labor Standards Act (근로기준법상).

Ha Song-yeon reports.


Ms. Mo, who has worked in a supermarket for over ten years, worked for three days over the most recent Seollal holiday.

She worked from ten in the morning to ten at night but was not given holiday pay.

<Tape recording> Supermarket employee (voice disguised): “I never like going in on a holiday. I want to spend time with my family… I feel like exploited which is making me depressed. That’s why I’m speaking so frankly.”

The Labor Standards Act specifies that workers are to be paid 1.5 times their regular pay, or receive extra holiday time, for working on what would otherwise be a paid holidays.

However, current law specifies that only one day a week, in addition to the May 1st Labor Day, are to be considered paid holidays.

Public holidays on which many citizens work are “official holidays,” that is, days when citizens don’t have to work because public servants don’t.

Whether an off day is to to be treated as a paid holiday is determined by a collective bargaining agreement.

That means that at 20% of businesses with at least 100 employees and the majority of small and medium enterprises do not give holiday pay because they have no such agreement.

The result is that not a few companies include compulsory annual vacation days with official holidays.

<Interview> Shin In-su (Attorney): “There is an urgent need for the Labor Standards Act to be reformed so that ordinary workers’ vacation time is treated the same as those in government service when it comes to legal holidays.”

 The government has so far declined to play the role of labor negotiator, so the complaints from workers in small businesses are only increasing.

This is Ha Song-yeon for KBS News.

In Korea, sexual assault victims receive attorney consultations

January 4th, 2014 · Legal news, Women in Korea · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link..

<Anchor Comment>

Sexual assault victims frequently feel re-victimized during the investigation and trial processes and defenseless against threats from their attackers.

Now, a group of attorneys who specialize in supporting sexual assault victims so that they do not feel re-victimized are being praised for joining together.

Yun Jin reports.


Children who have been sexually assaulted may exhibit anxiety, excessive shyness, and violent behavior.

They may be further victimized during the investigation and trial processes, in addition to the need for proper medical treatment.

Attorney Kim Jong-woong is now a state-approved attorney specializing in such sexual assault victims.

The goal is provide aid to victims who cannot stand up for their own rights since they do not know the law.

<Interview> Kim Jong-woong (state-appointed attorney specializing in sexual assault victims): “If a case similar to ours comes up then in the investigative process, for there to be an investigation out of the way of prying eyes, this is the simplest thing but helpful.”

The specialist attorneys provide free legal counsel to victims throughout the process from the crime to the verdict.

Since the appointment of 11 attorneys last year, in just six months over 1,000 victims have made use of the service and the number continues to increase, and the Ministry of Justice appointed an additional four attorneys this year.

<Interview> Shin Jin-hui (state-appointed attorney for victims): “I think of us as similar to public defenders who provide clear information regarding punishment under the law, and from the beginning provide correct information regarding your rights.”

Beginning this year there will be further programs for supporting sexual assault victims, including a “statement support system” for helping children and disabled sexual assault victims to provide statements to investigative agencies and courts.

Just 20% of Koreans feel they can trust strangers

January 3rd, 2014 · Society, Surveys and Studies · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link..

A survey has found that just two in ten Koreans believe they can trust strangers.

On the 1st, the National Statistical Office (통계청) published its 2013 study on social trends in Korea (titled 한국의 사회동향 2013), according to which the rate of Koreans saying that they feel positive about interpersonal trust was 22.3% in 2010.

The question asked in the survey was “how much do you expect that other people will use you or treat with good will without harming you?” In response to the question “do you think that you can generally rely on other people, or that you have to be careful?” the rate of the answers “generally trust” and “always trust” fell.

In other surveys on the same question, the top country for interpersonal trust in the OECD was Norway at 60%, followed by Denmark and Sweden at 50%. Korean was 10% below the 22-country OECD average of 32.0%, putting it in 14th place.

Korea also had low trust in public agencies. In 2011 the level of trust in the National Assembly was 31%, and trust in the central government was 56.1%.

However, trust in educational agencies and large businesses stood at 70.9% and 69.0% respectively, considerably high levels.

Regarding law and order and respect for the law, 26.4% believe that others do not properly follow the law, while 2.9% report the same about themselves, showing that people generally believe that they respect the law but others do not.

Regarding public order, other than for properly handling memorial rites (58.0%), no category received 50% approval, from security (31.9%) to banning smoking in public places (30.6%), keeping streets clean (26.0%), and managing traffic (26.0%).

Foreign brides to teach Korean kids

December 26th, 2013 · Education and ESL, Foreigners · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.

The “Immigrant Language Instructor Training Program”, which trains married immigrant women in the provinces to teach foreign languages, has graduated its first 40 trainees.

Hannam University announced on the 24th that 40 women from China, Japan, Vietnam, and Mongolia received their certificates for passing the 600-hour course that began in April. The ceremony was held in the 1956 Memorial Hall on campus.

The university was selected at the beginning of this year to be a multicultural education space by the Daejeon Metropolitan Office of Education, and opened a center for training married immigrant women as Korean language instructors.

The trainees attended courses in curriculum planning, teaching plan creation, simulated classes, teaching practice, and method of teaching Korean to multicultural families, and will teach the languages and cultures of their home countries in elementary schools and pre-schools.

Law school student hacked professor’s computer

December 24th, 2013 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals, Education and ESL, Legal news · 0 comments

There are many ways to get ahead in law school. Hacking a professor’s computer to get the tests isn’t one of them. Original article in Korean is at this link.

A 24-year old first-year law student at Yonsei Law School was permanently expelled after being referred to a disciplinary committee for being caught hacking a professor’s research room computer in order to steal a test.

On the 23rd the Law School announced that the committee, composed of seven people including Dean Shin Hyeon-yun, convened at 1:00 PM that afternoon and decided the above punishment for the student, known as “A”.

The permanent expulsion is the harshest available punishment, which could have been a warning, placement on academic probation, or suspension. Accordingly, “A’s” school record will be erased and he will be barred from re-admission.

In addition to “A” receiving an F in every course in the previous semester, his merit-based scholarship this semester was revoked and his certificate of merit nullified.

“A” wrote in a statement to the disciplinary commitee that on the night of the 10th he entered the professor’s room and installed a hacking program, amd had done so several times in the previous semester.

The law school had discovered the installation of the hacking programs on the processor’s PC following a joint investigation with its IT department.

The disciplinary committee issued the highest possible punishment with the approval of the dean following a two-week period to consider “A’s” punishment.

The law school said that the possibility of pursuing criminal charges is being discussed with the school’s professors.

Dean Shin Hyeon-yun said that “after confirming the truth, this punishment was issued with all proper procedures… in the future, our school will be strictly applying a policy of zero tolerance to even the most minor infractions.”

On the 16th at the law school student community website Lawinus (로이너스), there were numerous posts discussing the rumors that “A” had been caught entering the research room to install a remote-control hacking program in order to steal the test questions for the semester’s final exam.

“A”, who graduated as the salutatorian from Seoul National University with a degree in management, had a perfect 4.3 GPA in the previous semester.

As soon as the truth came to light and there were rumors inside and outside of the school regarding whether the same method had been used on other exams in the past, the school referred “A” to the disciplinary committee immediately.