Seoul National University in Foreign Student Sex Scandal

December 31st, 2008 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals, Education and ESL, Foreigners · 1 comment

The Marmot brings the news that SNU is seeing troubles develop between Korean and international students. The story was broken by the Dong-A Ilbo in this piece in the Korean edition after allegations of groping were made against an Indian student on the student web board. The board, SNU Life, blocks all posts from being read by anyone without a proper log-in, but here are some recent topics. (I couldn’t find the post which started the whole thing.)

No reply from reporter Kim Sang-woon.  (상황보고 : 김상운 기자 무응답(수정))

A really scary thing about “Pakistani culture” (근데 진짜 무서운건 ‘파키스탄의 문화’)

I sent a message to the Dong-A Ilbo reporter Kim Sang-woon. (동아일보 김상운 기자에게 메일을 보냈습니다)

No reply from Dong-A Ilbo reporter Kim Sang-woon… Sent another message. (김상운 기자 무응답…다시 메일 보냈습니다 )

I was really surprised that the UK loves Japan but thinks Korea is selfish… (영국은 일본인의 애국심과 한국인의 사리사욕에 놀랐다…)

3,100 Foreigners Hit the W100 Million Mark

December 31st, 2008 · Foreigners · 5 comments

However, note the fuzzy math required to create that headline.

Last year 3,100 resident foreigners, 1% of the total, earned at least W100 million.

According to the National Tax Service (국세청) on the 31st, 282,064 resident foreigners filed income tax returns and 1.1%, or 3,113, of them earned at least W100 million for a taxable income of at least W80 million.

345 had a taxable income of at W80 to W88 million, 493 of W88 to W100 million, 1,446 of W100 to W200 million, 212 of W200 to W300 million, 298 of W300 to W500 million, and 216 of W500 million to W1 billion.

103 filed returns indicating a taxable amount in excess of W1 billion.

Last year foreigners making at least W100 million were subject to a total W227.65 billion in taxes, 80.2% of the total paid by all foreigners.

The figure includes those who either do not have ROK citizenship or who do hold ROK citizenship but are permanent residents of foreign nations.

Many illegal immigrants did not file tax returns. Many of the foreigners who did file returns earn considerable salaries at foreign companies.

Last year 1,711 foreigners earned over W100 million.

156 earned a taxable income of W80 to W88 million, 201 of W88 to W100 million, 781 of W100 to W200 million, 163 of W200 to W300 million, 127 of W500 million to W1 billion, and 64 of over W1 billion.

They are mainly business owners but include laborers, businessmen, lenders, and investors.

The paychecks they brought home would come to those of 101,036 people on average, or those of 92,156 earned incomes.

New Way to Watch Korean Dramas Online

December 31st, 2008 · Entertainment · 13 comments

Dramafever is a new site for watching Korean TV dramas with English subtitles — and all for free. You can read the announcement on the Dramabeans blog and then head over to the site itself, which is still in beta so read the Dramabeans post for the login code.

Oh, and right now it’s available only to US viewers.

More Korean Women Driving Drunk

December 31st, 2008 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals, Women in Korea · 0 comments

That’s the headline for this piece, but it turns out that drunk drivers of all kinds are increasing. Meanwhile the number of fatalities went up even as the number of actual accidents declined.

With drunk driving incidents increasing every year, the number of incidents involving women has increased no less than 29% over the past three years, a study has found.

According to the report “최근 3년간 음주운전 사고 및 적발 현황” prepared by the National Police Agency and released by the office of National Assembly representative Lim Du-seong of the Grand National Party, in 2006 there were 353,589 people caught drunk driving, 412,482 in 2007, and 401,830 so far through November of this year.

Men made up 90% of them, meaning that 31,501 women were caught in 2006, 38,208 in 2007, and 40,677 this year, a 29.1% increase over the three-year period.

Men in their 30s accounted for 29.7% of incidents, followed by men in their 40s at 27% and men in their 20s at 20.2%. Women in their 30s made up 3.8% of the total and were the largest age group of women to be caught.

Over the past three years, 23.7%, or 277,605, of the incidents occurred in Gyeonggi-do, followed by Seoul and Seoul at 14% (162,604) and Busan at 8.5% (99,255).

Saturday was the most common day, accounting for 15.9% (186,233) of the incidents, followed by Sunday (14.8%, 172,732), Thursday (14.6%, 170,308), and Friday (14.6%, 170,725).

17.3%, or 201,830, of the incidents occurred at 11 p.m., followed by midnight (15.5%, 180,721) and 10 p.m. (14.7%, 171,848). 1.7% (19,605) occurred at 5 a.m.

The number of people who had their licenses revoked under the “Three Strikes” law was 7,362 in 2007 and 8,628 through November of this year, a more than 17% increase.

Rep. Lim said, “with the failure of our efforts to raise the consciousness of the citizens regarding drunk driving, stronger punishments are needed.”

The number of people injured or killed by drunk drivers was 52,361 in 2007, an average of 143.5 people per day, the study found.

It was also found that while the total number of drunk driving accidents went down, the number of those injured or killed went up, from 920 in 2006 to 991 in 2007. Rep. Lim said, “the current situation demonstrates that our drunk driving prevention policies are unable to effect any change in the drinking habits of people who overdrink and create a high risk of traffic accidents.”

The number of police injured while making arrests for drunk driving increased from 41 in 2006, 81 in 2007, and 76 through November of this year. One has even died this year, leading to strong calls for police to work in pairs for greater safety.

Rep. Lim said, “the number of people arrested for drunk driving and the number of traffic accidents goes up every year, so I believe we need to strengthen punishments and change the drinking habits of those arrested repeatedly.”

English Teacher Stabbed in Hongdae Club

December 31st, 2008 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals, Education and ESL, Foreigners · 21 comments

By another English teacher, the Munhwa Ilbo reports. Hat tip to reader Alex B.

An American who teaches English in a hagwon was arrested after stabbing another foreigner for bothering a Korean woman dancing in a nightclub.

On the 23rd the Mapo Police Department arrested 24-year old American Mr. J, an English instructor in a hagwon, for stabbing 42-year old Mr. R, an English teacher of New Zealand citizenship, to stop him from pestering a Korean woman in a Hongdae nightclub.

According to police, Mr. J is accused of stabbing the intoxicated Mr. R. in the ear and forearm at approximately 2 a.m. on the 21st after the latter repeatedly approached a Korean woman in the nightclub in Seogyo-dong. Mr. J is also accused of stabbing the hand of 21-year old Ms. Lee in front of the club while escaping it after stabbing Mr. R. He was caught far from the club by an employee who followed him in a taxi.

Mr. R and Ms. Lee were treated for their wounds and their lives were never in danger, it was announced.

Investigators say that Mr. J is currently attending an American university and came to Korea on a one-year E-2 visa to teach English, and has been teaching elementary, middle, and high school students at a hagwon in Uijeongbu for over one month.

Expat Bloggers Weigh in on 2008’s Top Expat Stories

December 30th, 2008 · Foreigners, Stories of the Day/Week/Year · 1 comment

The Korea Herald asked four bloggers  — The Marmot, The Metropolitician, Brian in Jeollanam-do, and myself — for their lists of the top 15 foreigner-in-Korea related stories of 2008. Check out my list here and then check out the others.

Face of the Day

December 30th, 2008 · Photos · 2 comments

One of several skeletons unearthed in Gyeongsangnam-do recently and believed to date to the sixth-century Gaya Kingdom is recreated in this computer image.

US Embassy Security Boosted

December 29th, 2008 · Legal news · 7 comments

A letter postmarked from Texas and containing an unidentified white powder arrived at the US Embassy in Seoul on the 24th, and the police have increased security accordingly.

Indians to be Hired as English Teachers Next Year

December 29th, 2008 · Education and ESL, Foreigners · 32 comments

Well, probably.

The Ministry of Justice announced on the 28th that, beginning next year, those from countries where English is an official language will be allowed to work as supplementary English instructors in Korean elementary and middle schools.

Only those from countries where English is an official language and which conclude agreements with Korea will receive permission to teach English.

Currently only those from countries where English is a mother tongue (the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and four others) may work as English teachers, but if the list is expanded to include countries where English is an official language a more diverse group of English teachers will likely be imported.

The goverment is currently in process of negotiating an agreement on English teachers with the Indian government.

The Ministry of Justice will stiffen requirements for those from countries where English is an official language, including requiring a minimum of a bachelor’s degree related to English and teaching certification.

Those from countries where English is a mother tongue may work as English teachers after graduating from a two-year college or completing at least two years of study at a four-year university.

But those from countries where English is an official language may not work in hagwons.

The Ministry believes its plan will boost rural areas where there is insufficient personnel for English education.

The Ministry of Education and Technology plans to further strengthen its own investments in English education.

The Ministry plans to bring in more high-quality native speakers from English-speaking universities and overseas educational institutions and train 1,400 of them next year, up from 600 this year.

Also, there will be a system to give such teachers two to three weeks of training afterwards, up from the current eight days.

Face of the Day

December 28th, 2008 · Entertainment, Photos · 12 comments

Lee Byeong-heon, who appears in the forthcoming G.I. Joe movie, put his body on display in the January edition of Elle Korea.