Korean TV shows faulted by environmentalists

July 31st, 2012 · Entertainment, Health and Environment · 1 comment

Original article in Korean is at this link.

Some are complaining that TV shows feature too many scenes of people using disposable products.

On the 30th of July a Seoul environmental group (서울환경운동연합) announced the results of its study of scenes featuring the use of disposable products in nine TV shows on KBC, MBC, and SBS, finding that there were 167 such scenes in the 30-day period beginning May 26th.

Of those scenes, 44 included disposable cups, 44 plastic shopping bags, 36 paper shopping bags, 17 wooden chopsticks, and 13 disposable lunch containers.

There just 12 scenes featuring reusable items such as baskets or cloth bags.

The group said that “if there were fewer disposable products in the TV shows which have a large influence on people then they would likely be used much less in society as well… television producers can play an important role in building a society that recycles and has no disposable products.”

Most-read Naver.com articles of the week – July 29, 2012

July 29th, 2012 · Stories of the Day/Week/Year · 0 comments

Top 10 in society.

1. A young girl was murdered in Tongyeong.

2. A female tourist in Jeju was also murdered.

3. Smaller beauty pageants, like the “Grape Queen” in Yeongcheon, are struggling to attract contestants.

4. More on #1.

5. More on #1.

6. More on #2.

7. More on #2.

8. More on #2.

9. A student in Cheonan called the 112 service to report having been slapped by a teacher.

10. More on #1.

Korean Supreme Court overturns conviction of pants-dropper

July 28th, 2012 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals, Legal news · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.

The Supreme Court has ruled that merely removing one’s pants and displaying one’s genitals does not constitute molestation.

On the 27th the Supreme Court’s second division, under Justice Yang Chang-su, overturned the four million won fine given to 48-year old Mr. Kang, who had been indicted for forcible molestation for taking his pants off and displaying his genitals, and returned the case to the Busan District Court.

The Court wrote that “merely removing one’s pants and displaying one’s genitals cannot be seen as ‘molestation’, even if doing so engenders feelings of shame or revulsion or is accompanied by violence or threats.”

Mr. Kang had been indicted for calling out to 49-year old Ms. A, whom he disliked, and insulting her as she was walking outside in October of 2010, and then pulling down his pants to show her his genitals when she ignored him. Both the trial and appeals courts sentenced him to a four million won fine.

The trial court had acquitted him of molestation, finding him guilty only of threats and obstruction of justice, saying that “there was insufficient supporting evidence from the victim’s testimony.”

However, the appeals court found him also guilty of forcible molestation, saying that “the act of displaying his genitals while he was being resisted engendered feelings of shame and revulsion, and was an act opposed to sexual ethics… it constituted molestation which violated the victim’s sexual freedom.”

New sex scandal at Korea University

July 27th, 2012 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals, Education and ESL, Women in Korea · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.

With female students at Korea University accusing a professor of sexually harassing them, the school is again dragging its feet.

In March two female graduate students went to the school with allegations that their advisor, Professor A, had sexually molested them.

They said that Prof. A “stayed with us at a motel to work on our theses… he frequently attempted to touch us.”

According to Korea University regulations, action must be taken within 60 days of such an accusation. Once that period has passed, the victims are to be notified of the results of the investigation. But on the 25th, 130 days after their report, the school was still investigating.

With the investigation dragging on, the victims’ pain is growing. The ‘Committee to Deal With Prof. A’, which includes the KU womens’ student union, said that “during the period of the investigation of Prof. A, the victims’ thesis advisor, they are unable to submit their theses or schedule a defense, and the victims could have been able to do so in about two weeks if the chancellor had strongly advocated it.” The Committee also announced that “Prof. A is still telling reporters that the victims were gold diggers who seduced him first, inflicting further damage on them.”

Last year the school was also accused of dragging its feet after a medical student was molested, and some say nothing has changed.

Lee Ah-lim, a member of the Korea University womens’ student union, said that “after the medical student molestation case last year we expected the school to be more acgtive in protecting students and improve its attitude, but in this current case we can see that almost nothing has changed.”

The school claims that the reason for the lengthy investigation is “available through the public relations department.”

An official with the Korea University public relations department said that “according to school regulations the investigation period is 60 days, but gender equality center regulations allow that period to be extended if requested by the subject of the investigation or if judged necessary.”

Jeong Hagyeongju, an activist with the 한국 여성민우회, said that “when there has been a sexual assault, if the investigation is extended the victim’s pain increases and she can be ostracized at school and in other public places… the school’s gender equality center needs to have a strengthened role and authority.”

How not to resolve a child custody dispute

July 25th, 2012 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.

A man who attempted to kiss and embrace his wife before biting her fingers during a dispute over custody of their son during their divorce process has been sentenced to pay a fine.

On the 24th Judge Lee Byeong-sam of the Seoul District Courts 9th criminal division sentenced 55-year-old Mr. Kim to a 30 million won fine for suddenly attempting to kiss his wife, 51-year-old Mrs. Choi, during a dispute about custody of their son and then biting her fingers as she tussled with him, then hitting her waist and shoulders in an attempt to push her to the ground.

The judge said that “during divorce proceedings Mr. Kim was arguing about child custody with his wife in an alley near a restaurant in the Gangdong-du area of Seoul when he suddenly attempted to kiss, and a tussle broke out after she used her right hand to block his mouth… Mr. Kim bit Mrs. Choi’s right index finger and continued to attempt to hug her, then knocked her to the ground as she tried to squirm away.”

Is the Philippines dangerous for Korean tourists?

July 24th, 2012 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.

The number of mothers who lose their sons in the Philippines has increased in Korea in the past 10 months. In June one father placed a post titled “I want to find my son” on an internet forum for people who have been in accidents in the Philippines. This is the story of the family of 32-year-old Mr. Hong, who disappeared in September of last year while on a five-night, six-day backpacking trip in the Philippines. Three days before he was to return his family received a phone call. Speaking in an urgent tone, their son said “I need settlement money, please send ten million won (US$8,725).” They sent the money but have not heard from their son since that afternoon. His parents continue to make inquiries at the Philippine Embassy in Korea and with Korean prosecutors, searching for his son’s whereabouts. Mr. Hong said that “so far I have contacted the Embassy but not received even a phone call.”

In the Philippines Koreans have been disappearing or have been murdered. On the 16th the Korea Institute for Criminology (한국형사정책연구원) published a study of crimes against Koreans in the Philippines from 2006 to 2010, according to which, in the past five years, 95 people’s whereabouts in the Philippines are unknown and 30 have been murdered. 45 have fallen prey to the so-called “kidnap business”, having been kidnapped and freed after a ransom was paid. KIC Chairman Jang Jun-oh said that “there are very few cases of Koreans disappearing or being murdered in other Southeast Asian nations… there are an increasing number of crimes linked to factors such as gun ownership.”

The victims are diversifying, from businessmen with money to international students and missionary teachers. Last year Ms. Kim, who was then 23 years old and a medical student at a women’s university in the Philippines, was found dead in a hotel in Manila. An employee opened the door and entered the room to find a dead 26-year-old Filipino man lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling. The two had gunshot wounds. Local police believe that the Filipino man killed Ms. Kim and then committed suicide because it would have been difficult for a stranger to enter the room with a master key. However, the Korean Embassy said that “because the  Filipino man was neatly lying down facing the ceiling it is not possible for it to have been suicide” and raised doubts about the police investigation.

In 2011, 34-year-old Mr. Kang was a tourist in the Philippines when two local women came to talk to him as he sat on a bench in a public park, and then he left with them. After two bottles of beer in a seaside restaurant he passed out and woke up to find 2.5 million won (US$2,180) was missing from his bank account.

In February of this year 57-year-old Mr. Nam was kidnapped in the Philippines along with local police and his guide, then released after payment of a 24 million won ransom. He said that “I still cannot forget the moment when a gun was pointed at me.”

An increasing number of Koreans are going to the Philippines for tourism and language study. In 2011 the Philippines Department of Tourism conducted a study which found that there had been 840,000 Korean tourists. In 2007 Korea became the nation’s largest source of foreign tourists. Lee Sang-yun, secretary of the overseas citizens department with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that “working with local police, we have created a department dedicated to crimes involving Koreans and are considering establishing another consulate general.”

Was North Korean defector murdered in South Korea?

July 23rd, 2012 · Accidents, Crimes and Scandals · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.


Jeon Yeong-cheol, a North Korean refugee, once held a press conference in North Korea and said that “in South Korea there was a group dedicated to taking down a bronze statue of Kim Il-sung, and I participated in that group through a man named Lee Su-bok.” Now a man called Lee Su-bok has been belatedly reported to have been found dead in his apartment two weeks ago. It is unclear whether it is a simple death or whether it is murder, and suspicions are swirling around Mr. Lee’s death.

Shin Eun-seo reports.


Jeon Yeong-cheol was a North Korean refugee who held a press conference in North Korea in which he said he complicated efforts to take down a bronze statue of Kim Il-sung.

Mr. Jeon said that he was introduced to Kim Seong-min, who organized the statue group (동까모) and represents Free North Korea Radio, by a North Korean refugee in South Korea named Lee Su-bok.

[Video] Jeon Yeong-cheol / North Korean refugee who returned to North Korea

“Through Lee Su-bok’s introduction, I met Kim Seong-min, the representative of a group that schemes against the Republic.”

Kim Seong-min says that he remembers meeting Jeon Yeong-cheol, on a single occasion,  through Lee Su-bok.

However, Lee Su-bok, who connected Mr. Jeon and the anti-statue group, suddenly died at the beginning of this month and was discovered five or six days later.

[Video] Kim Seong-min / Free North Korea Radio representative

“When I first found out what Lee Su-bok was doing, I heard he had died, ten days ago. Since he died alone he wasn’t found for several days, I heard. There’s no definite cause of death.”

Officials with an anti-North Korean organization said that Mr. Lee sometimes attended events to distribute anti-North Korean propaganda, and in North Korea he had reputedly been placed on a “defector kidnap list”, raising suspicions he had been murdered.

Our government believes that Mr. Lee had been in poor health, but has not ruled out any possibility including suicide, accident, and murder.

Given the recent suspicions of North Korean refugee kidnappings, a full and forthright investigation of Mr. Lee’s death is required.

This may be the same Lee Su-bok who has spoken out about his experiences in the hellish North Korean gulag system.

Most-read Naver.com articles of the week — July 22, 2012

July 22nd, 2012 · Stories of the Day/Week/Year · 0 comments

Top 10 in society.

1. An internet user uploaded a video apparently showing two men attempting to get hit by cars to make money through lawsuits or insurance payments.

2. In Jeju, a man and his son were arrested on charges of repeatedly sexually abusing the man’s daughter, now 12, beginning in 2009.

3. A look at the circumstances surrounding the murder of an 8-months pregnant woman by her partner.

4. In a survey about the characteristics of awful co-workers, the top choice was people who talk too much.

5. A look at the rapid promotion of MBC’s Lee Jin-suk.

6. Another article on the travails of the construction of Seoul’s Floating Island.

7. In Jeollanam-do, a dog gave birth to a puppy that looks so much like a kitten that its owner has been trying to convince people it actually is one.

8. Police are promising a thorough investigation after an internet post accused a young woman of driving her Mercedes recklessly, including driving onto the sidewalk.

9. Four people were injured in Goseong by a jindo dog that attacked them as they were at their apartment building’s playground. It is not known whether the dog had rabies.

10. A group of new soldiers were harassed and insulted by soldiers who were just above them in seniority, then judged unfit for duty and discharged. They took their case to the National Human Rights Commission and a judge found that the insults had risen to the level of criminal threat and insult, fining offenders 600,000 won each.

In China, North Korea human rights activist suddenly released

July 21st, 2012 · North Korea · 0 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.

49-year old North Korea human rights activist Kim Yeong-hwan and three others who were detained in China for violating that country’s national security (國家安全危害罪) returned to South Korea through Incheon International Airport on the afternoon of the 20th. They had been in detention for 114 days. The Chinese government sent them back as deportees.

That afternoon, Mr. Kim’s group, whose extradition was received by the South Korean government at 5:15 pm, arrived from Shenyang on a Korean Air flight. At 7:28 pm Mr. Kim’s group arrived at Incheon International Airport and left the airport without saying much to reporters.

Mr. Kim’s group plans to return home after going through a simple physical examination and an investigation of the circumstances of their detentiona and whether or not they violated any domestic laws. The Chinese government had suddenly communicated its wish to deport them just one day before.

Japan-Korea military agreement protested in Seoul

July 20th, 2012 · Japan, Politics · 0 comments

With Korean authorities struggling to get the public to accept the General Security of Military Information Agreement (한일 군사정보포괄보호협정 or 한일군사협정 for short) signed with Japan, protests have been held in front of the Japanese Embassy by leftist groups. One man also decided to use a day off from work to hold his own one-person demonstration.