korean-law   35

S. Korea drops star director's sex abuse defamation complaint
South Korean prosecutors have rejected complaints by famed film director Kim Ki-duk of criminal defamation against an actress who accused him of physical and sexual assault, and journalists who reported other allegations.

Kim, 58, is one of South Korea's top directors whose awards include the Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Film Festival for "Pieta" and Berlin's 2004 Silver Bear for Best Director.

But an actress in 2017 accused him of sexual and physical abuse, saying he forced her into unscripted sexual scenes and slapped her repeatedly while shooting his 2013 award-winning film "Moebius", before replacing her with another actress.

Prosecutors dropped the sex abuse charge citing lack of evidence but fined Kim five million won ($4,600) for physical assault under a procedure to settle minor cases out of court.

Several other actresses came forward afterwards, anonymously accusing Kim of raping or sexually abusing them in an investigative television programme, "PD Notebook", that aired last year as the #MeToo campaign against violence against women took off in South Korea.

Kim denied the accusations and asked prosecutors to investigate the "PD Notebook" journalists for defamation, and the "Moebius" actress for defaming and false accusation.

He was able to do so under South Korea's defamation law, which makes libel a crime and provides that stating the truth can still be an offence if it is deemed to have tarnished others' social reputation.

Seoul prosecutors told AFP on Friday that they had dismissed all of Kim's complaints, saying the actress's sex abuse accusation was only dropped because they were unable to find enough evidence, and there was no proof she was purposefully lying.

- 'No evidence' -

According to reports the prosecutors said they saw "credible reasons" the interviews with other actresses aired on "PD Notebook" were true.

"The production crew had no intention to slander him and there is no evidence that the testimonies were false," the prosecutors said in a statement quoted by multiple media reports.

The "Moebius" actress -- whose name has been withheld -- hailed the latest decision and slammed Kim for trying to muzzle abuse victims with so-called "revenge accusations", a tactic used by a growing number of alleged sex abusers.

"Kim tried to silence me -- and perhaps other victims who wanted to come forward -- through counter-lawsuits of false accusation and defamation, but we will never be silenced again," she told AFP.

"It was so painful to face criminal investigations when I was a victim... but I have never regretted speaking out, not for one second."

Kim claimed that the "Moebius" slapping had been part of an "acting lesson".

The director has won a global following with his bloody, allegory-rich movies but has also faced accusations of misogyny over gruesome scenes of sexual and physical abuse of female characters, mostly prostitutes.

Women in South Korea's movie industry, both on screen or behind the camera, shy away from making open accusations against senior staffers or directors for fear of permanently damaging their careers, campaigners say.
Korean-defamation  Korean-libel  Korean-law  Korean-Me-too  victim-blaming  Korean-victim-blaming 
12 days ago by thegrandnarrative
Stiffer measures against domestic violence to be introduced next year
Under proposed measures to be introduced next year, domestic violence offenders can be arrested at the scene of the crime and the violation of a restraining order could result in a prison sentence, the government said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety and the National Police Agency jointly proposed stronger measures to combat domestic violence during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The move follows a high-profile murder case in which a 49-year-old man stands accused of fatally stabbing his ex-wife in a parking lot in western Seoul in October. Public outcry followed, with many people calling for tougher measures to stop domestic violence. The case is still before the courts.

When the new measures come into effect, police will be able to intervene in domestic violence cases more effectively by arresting an attacker on the spot. Currently, police are only allowed to stop attacks and separate victims from offenders.

The new measures also include tougher punishments for violations of restraining orders. Currently, violating a restraining order is punishable by a fine, but under the new measures, it could result in imprisonment.

The proposed changes would also affect the issuance of restraining orders and make it possible to prevent offenders from going near the victims or the victims’ families. At the moment, restraining orders prevent offenders from going to specified locations, such as victims’ homes or workplaces.

Police would have to keep records of domestic violence reports for three years even if a case was closed at the victim’s request.

Under the proposed changes, offenders could also be prevented from seeing their children for up to a year, in an effort to prevent secondary crime. Police would be able to seek arrest warrants for habitual offenders and those who used weapons.

Furthermore, the definition of domestic violence would be expanded to include illegal filming, home invasion and ignoring a request to leave the house.

The government would also initiate programs to assist domestic violence victims. For example, after staying at a shelter for a certain period, victims would be eligible to receive up to 5 million won ($4,426) to help them get back on their feet.

The proposed measures also call for the establishment of five counseling centers to help migrant woman affected by domestic violence.

By Park Ju-young (jupark@heraldcorp.com)
Korean-law  Korean-domestic-violence 
7 weeks ago by thegrandnarrative
[News Focus] Murder case triggers debate on Korea’s handling of domestic abuse
Many women’s rights groups say her death could have been prevented if the state did a better job of protecting victims of domestic abuse. According to a report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), nearly 45 percent of 16,868 “home protection” cases in 2015 did not result in any criminal punishment.

Home protection cases are domestic violence cases that involve state intervention, with measures ranging from education programs for the abuser to restraining orders and suspects being held at designated facilities.

According to police data, less than 1 percent of over 16,800 domestic violence reports, of which more than 75 percent of the victims were women, led to suspects being taken into custody in 2017.

In addition, nearly 35 percent of the aggressors avoided criminal charges, and were instead assigned to attend educational programs.

‘Family preservation’ first

To tackle the issue, Korean women’s activists had been calling for the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Domestic Violence to be revised, saying it often forces victims to “forgive” or “reconcile” with the aggressors and not cut ties with them.

Article 1 of the act states that its primary purpose is to “maintain and restore the family.” This has often been interpreted by lawyers, judges and others to mean that family separation should be the last resort when dealing with domestic violence. Currently, restraining-order violations are only subject to administrative fines.

“The Committee is concerned that a reconciliation procedure is mandatory even in cases of divorce based on domestic violence, and that the ideology of preservation of the intact family leads to awarding visitation rights and child custody to abusive fathers,” the UN CEDAW wrote in its March report.

According to women’s rights groups, female victims of domestic violence, particularly those of sexual violence, have often been subjected to criticism and shaming from their families and judges.

Speaking to a number of reporters in 2016, a woman in her 20s said she had received death threats from her paternal grandmother after she filed a legal complaint against her father, who had raped her on multiple occasions throughout her life.

Her grandfather, for his part, openly blamed her for “ruining (his) son’s life,” saying, “What kind of a daughter sues her own father and lets him serve a prison term?”

“It was traumatic,” the victim told The Korea Herald in 2016. “I thought out of all people, my grandmother would understand.”

‘We need a completely new legal system’

Women’s rights groups accuse the Korean government of inaction, even after the UN CEDAW made a recommendation earlier this year to revise the domestic violence law to “give priority to the prosecution of crimes over family reconciliation.”

In March, the UN committee had specifically advised the Korean government to prohibit the use of reconciliation in cases of domestic abuse; to stop suspending charges in “home protection” cases; to ensure that perpetrators are criminally punished; and to adopt a policy of mandatory arrest for crimes of domestic abuse when restraining orders are breached.

None of these recommendations have been adopted.

In the petition, the daughter of the murder suspect Kim wrote that her mother could not pursue a normal life even after the divorce, due to her father’s threats.

In January, the suspect showed up without warning at her mother’s place, carrying a weapon, and threatened to kill her. In April, her father tried to set fire to her mother’s home. Police were called on both occasions, but did not arrest Kim.

The victim’s 24-year-old daughter said her mother always covered her face with a hat whenever she went out of the house, in case she ran into her ex-husband; she had changed her phone number 10 times since the divorce.

“My mother moved five times after the divorce, including to a shelter, but my father always managed to find her and threaten her again,” the daughter wrote in her petition.

On Wednesday, the suspect was found at a hospital after stabbing his ex-wife to death earlier in the morning. Police said he had been drunk and unconscious after committing the crime, and someone had sent him to the hospital for medical attention.

Korean criminals in the past have often received mitigated sentences due to “impaired judgment” resulting from mental illness or drunkenness.

His daughters claim that he had been seeing a psychiatrist for that reason, and would often tell them that even if he were to be jailed for any criminal activity, he would only have to serve six months as he has a history of receiving medical treatment for a mental condition.

“My father’s judgment has never been ‘impaired.’ He is a criminal who needs to be separated from society for good,” the daughter said in the petition demanding her father be executed.

“We basically need a completely new system in order to actually protect victims of domestic abuse in this country,” said Korea Women’s Hot Line, an organization devoted to helping women victims of domestic violence.

“The current system is simply letting the victims die.”

For most of her 24 years, she said, the victim’s daughter had to either suffer or witness her father’s abuse. Her mother died after enduring 25 years of violence, as well as constant death threats, from the father of her children.

“Whenever my father hit me and my sister (when we were little), I remember my mother couldn’t even try to stop him. Terrified, she would close her ears with her hands and be curled up in the corner of the room (while we were being abused),” the daughter said in an interview with a local daily.

“After she divorced my father, I didn’t get to spend much time with my mother. The day before she died, I told her that I loved her for the first time in my life, and gave her a money gift. I wish I had told her that more often. My mother died just eight hours after that.”
Korean-law  Korean-domestic-violence  Korean-families 
10 weeks ago by thegrandnarrative
(Yonhap Feature) Victims feel unprotected by lax rules on revenge porn
Women, however, claim that violators mostly get away with their actions by taking advantage of loopholes in the law, while victims suffer from the fallouts.

For example, earlier this month, a local district court slapped a three-year prison term on a man who posted sexual videos and images of his ex-wife on the Internet and later threatened to upload more. But in a similar case, South Korea's Supreme Court ruled that taking photos of revenge pornography while they are being played on a computer and then sending the photos to others cannot be punished as a sexual offense.

The ruling came as existing laws only ban the taking of "photos of another person's body." It did not acknowledge taking photos of a screen playing videos showing a person's body as an act punishable under the law for sex criminals.

Experts stress that this is not the only loophole in the system that is being exploited.

Criminal psychology professor Lee Soo-jung of Kyonggi University points out that there are many cases where males who post revenge pornography materials online do not get charged with sexual abuse but are penalized for other offenses that come with weaker legal consequences.

Lee said the law often fails to properly protect victims as in some cases excessive legal red tape stands in the way of defendants receiving heavy punishments.

"When it comes to legal disputes surrounding such materials, the issue tends to lie on whether they were filmed and uploaded with the consent of the victims," Lee told Yonhap News Agency.

"The law for punishment of sexual crimes can be applied if the materials were taken secretly, and if not, offenders get punished under the communication law for spreading pornography, and that tends to come with much weaker punishments," Lee said.

The scholar said despite the core issue of revenge porn cases being fundamentally about sexual abuse against women, the law does not take such factors into consideration.

The professor said heavier punishments are needed to pave the way for investigators to promptly arrest suspects and seize incriminating materials. At present, police cannot detain a person for a crime that only carries a fine or, at most, a suspended jail sentence.

"The consequences of crimes involving revenge pornography, which invariably leads to the mental distress of victims, should not be viewed as being light and allow the offender to avoid being arrested," she said.
Korean-revenge-porn  Korean-pornography  Korean-law 
12 weeks ago by thegrandnarrative
South Korea Government Accused of Using Defamation Laws to Silence Critics - The New York Times
By Choe Sang-Hun

March 5, 2016

SEOUL, South Korea — In late 2014, months after 304 people died in the sinking of a South Korean ferry, a leaflet began circulating with a scurrilous rumor about President Park Geun-hye: that she had failed to respond swiftly to the disaster that day because she was having a romantic encounter with a former aide.

Was Ms. Park, the flier asked, now cracking down on her critics in an attempt to keep that scandal from coming to light?

For Park Sung-su, an antigovernment campaigner who had distributed the leaflet — and who is not related to the president (Park is a common surname here) — the consequences soon followed. He was arrested and later sentenced to a year in prison, on charges of defaming the president and staging illegal protests against his prosecutors. He was freed in December after eight months, when a court suspended his sentence.

No evidence supporting the rumor has been produced, and prosecutors said they had investigated and found it groundless. But however dubious the leaflet might have been, opponents of the government say Mr. Park became another victim of the very thing he was denouncing: the government’s use of defamation and other laws to silence its critics, which rights advocates say is on the rise.

Last year, the United Nations Human Rights Committee warned against South Korea’s “increasing use of criminal defamation laws to prosecute persons who criticize government action.” Freedom House, a rights group based in Washington, criticized “the increased intimidation of political opponents” under Ms. Park, who took office in 2013.

“The government is especially sensitive about defending the personal reputation of the president,” said Park Kyung-sin, a professor of law at Korea University who has researched the issue.

The Constitution guarantees freedom of expression. But defamation laws here carry penalties that include prison — up to three years for comments that are true and up to seven for statements considered false — if they are deemed not in the public interest. Critics say the distinction is vague and opens the door to abuse by prosecutors.

The government’s use of the laws against critics predates Ms. Park’s presidency. During the five-year tenure of her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, 30 such cases were filed, 24 of them criminal and six civil, according to People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, an influential South Korean civic group. But under Ms. Park, the trend increased considerably, with 22 cases filed in her first two and a half years in office, the group said. Of those, 18 were criminal prosecutions.

“They don’t seem to care whether they win these cases,” the group said in a recent report, noting that the officials often lose in court. “The real purpose is to create a chilling effect among people criticizing and scrutinizing the government.”

Ms. Park’s office rejected such criticism, saying all democratic rights were protected.

Charges that her administration was suppressing political rights sprang up almost as soon as Ms. Park — whose father, the military dictator Park Chung-hee, ruled South Korea with an iron fist during the 1960s and ’70s — assumed office.

In 2013, the National Intelligence Service, a powerful spy agency that her father used to torture and silence dissidents, moved to disband an outspoken progressive party. The agency arrested the party’s leaders on charges of violating the Cold War-era National Security Law, which bans activities deemed pro-North Korean.

Distrust of the spy agency deepened after it was accused of interfering on Ms. Park’s behalf during the 2012 presidential campaign. A former director of the agency, Won Sei-hoon, was convicted of running a team of officers who posted comments online criticizing Ms. Park’s rivals before the election. In 2014, agency employees were convicted of fabricating Chinese immigration documents to concoct a spy case against an ethnic Chinese refugee from North Korea.

When human rights lawyers and journalists brought those tactics to light in 2013, saying the agency was resorting to old habits of coercion and faking evidence, counterintelligence officials responded by filing defamation cases.

The government’s use of the defamation laws became a diplomatic issue when Japan complained after the 2014 indictment of Tatsuya Kato, a journalist from the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun, for reporting the rumor about Ms. Park and her former aide.

An opposition lawmaker, Park Jie-won, said the indictment had embarrassed the country. “It’s prosecutors who should be indicted for defaming South Korea,” he said.

Mr. Kato was acquitted in December. But Mr. Park, the lawmaker, has been charged with defamation after airing suspicions that the former aide and others close to the president had arranged for favored officials to be promoted. Presidential aides sued six journalists from a South Korean newspaper for reporting similar allegations, which Ms. Park’s office denied.

Besides the defamation laws, the government’s use of the National Security Law has long been seen by international human rights groups, as well as the United States State Department, as a threat to free speech. Since 2014, a Chinese student and a Korean-American lecturer have been deported for comments seen as sympathetic to North Korea. Longstanding fears of the North, especially among conservatives, have stymied efforts to repeal or revise the law.

Attempts to amend the defamation laws have also been unsuccessful. Last month, the Constitutional Court struck down a proposal to ban defamation charges in cases where the supposedly defamatory comment circulated online is true. Bills that would bar government officials from filing defamation cases have stalled in Parliament.

Ms. Park’s governing party has pushed what it calls antiterrorism legislation through Parliament after her office warned of possible terrorist attacks from North Korea in the wake of the North’s recent nuclear test. Opposition lawmakers say the bill would give the National Intelligence Service, which has a history of illegally wiretapping politicians, journalists and others, more power to monitor not just terrorism suspects but also government critics, particularly online.

“I can never support this attempt to place a dog collar on the people,” Eun Soo-mi, an opposition lawmaker who was once tortured by the spy agency, said during a 10-hour filibuster against the bill, which was approved but has not yet become law. (Thirty-eight opposition lawmakers, some referring to Big Brother, from George Orwell’s novel “1984,” filibustered against the bill in a series of speeches for a record eight days.)

The government’s policing of the Internet, a popular channel for antigovernment grievances, was already an issue under Ms. Park. In 2014, after months of withering criticism about how she had handled the ferry disaster, Ms. Park warned that some of it had gone “too far.” Prosecutors soon announced a crackdown on “false or defamatory data in cyberspace.”

Kakao Talk, a popular smartphone-based messenger service, then admitted that it had been cooperating with the police and prosecutors to collect the online chat records of thousands of users, including antigovernment demonstrators. Last month, a court ruled in favor of one of those protesters, concluding that the inspection of her records was unlawful because it had been conducted without her knowledge.

Such rulings aside, critics argue that South Korean prosecutors and judges have largely failed to protect the public’s rights, often because they want to earn the favor of politicians who can promote them.

“People are lamenting that there are no watchdogs, but only dogs,” Kwon Seok-cheon, a columnist for the newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, recently wrote.

Park Sung-su, the activist who spread the rumor about the president and her former aide, made use of the same metaphor after police officers raided his home. He called them “running dogs for the government,” later throwing dog food at the gates of police stations. In April, he was arrested on the charge of staging an illegal rally and then interrogated after he and several other activists had shouted, “Bow wow!” in front of a prosecutors’ office.

“They kept asking me what was the political meaning of ‘bow wow,’ ” he said.
Korean-law  Korean-defamation  Korean-libel 
october 2018 by thegrandnarrative
What We Really Need to Focus on in the Ahn Hee-jung Sexual Assault Trial | ILDA
Written before the verdict, but still an excellent summary of the case, Korea's antiquated rape laws, and the Korean media's coverage of the trial
Korean-Me-too  Me-too  Korean-rape  Korean-sexual-assault  Korean-law  Korean-media 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
“South Korea is no country for women”: Women’s groups protest acquittal of top politician
Some 20,000 South Korean women gathered in central Seoul on Saturday to protest the court’s recent decision to acquit a powerful politician of sexual abuse charges, claiming the judiciary is now complicit in gender-based violence that has prevailed in the country.

An Hee-jung, the former South Chungcheong Province governor and a onetime presidential contender, was found not guilty of sexual assault through abuse of authority Tuesday. An’s trial had been considered one of the highest profile cases to have emerged from the #MeToo campaign in South Korea, which began to spread in February this year.

“(South Korea is) no country for women,” one of the signs read. “An Hee-jung is guilty! So is the court!”

Women protesters hold torch lights as they protest the court’s recent decision to acquit former provincial governor An Hee-jung of sexual assault charges. (Yonhap)

An’s accuser, Kim Ji-eun, made public her accusations through a live TV interview in March, saying she was raped by An four times while working as his aide from 2017 to February this year. Prosecutors last month requested four years in prison for An, who had been charged with five counts of indecent act by compulsion, four counts of sexual abuse by occupational authority and one count of indecent acts through abuse of occupational authority.

An pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, saying his extramarital relationship with Kim was of a consensual, romantic nature.

The court acquitted An of the charges, saying there was “insufficient evidence” to show he abused his power to pressure Kim into having sex with him, and there were “inconsistencies” in Kim’s testimony.

The fact that Kim tried to find Korean-style tofu soup for An the day after being allegedly raped in Russia while the two were on a business trip together, and that Kim visited a hair salon in South Korea where An was a regular after returning from the trip had been considered, the court said.

Women’s activists say that An was acquitted because Kim did not “behave like a victim” by the court’s standards. Kim did not quit her job, did not file a complaint and continued with her duties as An’s aide after being raped. This, experts say, shows the Korean judiciary’s unrealistic idea of how a rape victim should behave and thereby makes it complicit in the nation’s violence against women.

“Kim was a working professional, and (being An’s aide) was her job,” Kwon Kim Hyun-young, a feminist scholar, said at the rally.

“She was a working professional who had to still come in to work in spite of having been abused by her boss the previous day, to survive and to not lose her career. There are countless working professionals in this country who still go to work in spite of having been harassed by their boss in the past. We all know that the court’s logic does not make sense.”

Kim Ji-eun sent a letter to the rally, which her lawyer Jeong Hye-sun read on her behalf. Kim said she at times felt that the only way to prove her words was to take her own life.

“(Unlike An Hee-jung,) I don’t (personally know) any judges, powerful politicians, journalists or police officers,” she wrote in her letter.

“I’m just a laborer and an ordinary citizen who tried to work hard every day. I’m speaking to my fellow citizens. What I’ve experienced is the same as what you may have experienced at work, the power abuse and harassment from your superiors. Judges say sexual abuse is an exception. But what is the difference? How is my experience different from other forms of power abuse that we face in our daily lives?”

Women prosters hold a sign that says "An Hee-jung is Guilty" at a mass rally held in central Seoul on Saturday. (Yonhap)

A woman in her mid-30s who attended the rally said she felt the court’s decision was a form of victim blaming.

“The court is basically saying that Kim is responsible for what happened to her after the first incident of sexual assault because she continued with her job, which was to be An’s aide,” she told The Korea Herald.

“I’ve witnessed countless incidents of sexual harassment in this country, including in my own workplace. Victims usually can’t directly fight back, especially when the offender is your superior at work. And for most people, it’s not that easy to quit your job. Most people simply can’t afford to quit.”

Korean-rape  Korean-Me-too  Korean-law 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
[Photo] Law requiring bicycle helmets won’t be enforced : National : News : The Hankyoreh
Following criticisms of “pen-pushing safety,” the Ministry of the Interior and Safety has announced that it will not enforce its safety law that requires bicycle riders to wear helmets, nor will it punish violators. In a telephone interview with The Hankyoreh, a ministry official clarified that “it has settled with the National Police Agency that although the use of safety helmets is required, the police will not enforce the law.” A judge in the Seoul Central District Court mentioned this makes the law a “mere declaration,” adding it is rare for laws to not include measures for enforcement. (Kim Myoung-jin, staff photographer)
Korean-law  Korean-police 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
[Editorial] Acquittal of Ahn Hee-jung of sexual violence charges reveals underlying problem in court system : Editorial & Opinion : News : The Hankyoreh
“There is no concrete evidence that physical force was directly used to prevent resistance,” the court went on to say.

By denying the credibility of the consistent testimony of the victim because of the lack of physical or circumstantial evidence, this judgment appears to place the entire burden of proof on the victim and to disregard the fact that this is exactly why so many victims have remained silent. One can’t help but wonder whether the court properly understands the fundamental nature of power-based sexual violence, in which the victim does not dare to refuse the advances of someone who has authority over them.

In particular, the court’s disclosure of its attitude that there can be no sexual violence without physical coercion only show that it has failed to keep pace not only with the changing attitudes of members of society but also with legal precedent on the criteria for rape.

The court emphasized nulla poena sine lege – the legal principle that no one can be punished for something that’s not prohibited by law – in various parts of its decision: “Even if, as the complainant testified, she didn’t explicitly express consent, expressed her refusal in her own way and was inwardly opposed to what was happening, the defendant’s actions cannot be regarded as the crime of sexual violence that is subject to punishment under our current system [. . .] There is a difference between the definition of sexual violence as the term is used in South Korean society and the definition of the crime of sexual violence as it is defined in the criminal code.”

But this stance can be criticized for its irresponsibility. When a Seoul National University professor surnamed Shin was charged with sexual harassment in the early 1990s, the case was roundly derided on the grounds that if Shin’s actions were against the law, then most Koreans were criminals. But through that court’s decision, South Korean society was able to establish a more advanced standard for sexual crime. That’s why this verdict’s narrow interpretation of the scope of the abuse of workplace authority even after the #MeToo movement is being criticized as “regressive” and as “giving immunity to power-based sex crimes.

The controversy after Kim Ji-eun came forward with her story verified the strength of the attitude in South Korean society that “victims ought to act like victims.” There are concerns that this ruling might further reinforce the social stereotypes that have isolated and discouraged victims whenever the issue of sexual violence is raised by asking them why they didn’t resist the rape and insinuating that they were “asking for it.” But women have begun to speak through a crack in the wall, and their voice will not stop. Once irrationality has been brought to light, it must someday come to an end.
Me-too  Korean-Me-too  Korean-rape  Korean-law  Korean-sexual-harassment  Korean-sexual-assault 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Reporting Child Abuse (in Korea) | KLAWGURU.COM
In Korea, the main governing law regarding “child abuse” is the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Child Abuse Crimes (아동학대범죄의 처벌 등에 관한 특례법). This new law came into effect on September 29, 2014.

I. What are “Child Abuse Crimes?”

1. “Child” (아동) refers to anyone under the age of 18 (international age).

2. “Child Abuse” (아동학대) refers to the following acts perpetrated by any adult (to a child):

1) Doing harm to a child’s health or welfare; or

2) Committing physical, mental or sexual violence; or

3) Inflicting cruel acts that are likely to impede normal growth of a child.

Also, “Child Abuse” includes abandoning or neglecting a child, by his/her guardian.

FYI, “guardian” (보호자) refers to a person who is legally/contractually obligated (at the time) to look after the child.

3. “Child Abuse Crimes” (아동학대범죄) refer to any type of “Child Abuse” perpetrated specifically by the guardian of the child. By the strict letter of the law, this includes “corporal punishment.”

II. Reporting “Child Abuse Crimes”

1. Anyone May Report

Anyone who even suspects a “Child Abuse Crime” may report it to the authorities. The number is 112 (i.e., the police). It’s available 24/7. The key here is that one need not have definitive knowledge. Mere suspicion okay!

2. Some Must Report

Some workers/professionals have an affirmative legal obligation to report “Child Abuse Crimes.” A duty to report even in mere suspicion. Generally speaking, a worker/professional officially engaged in work relating to children (e.g., education) will have a duty to report. This includes all “school personnel” and even “hagwon managers, instructors, and personnel.”

FYI, Article 19 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (초ㆍ중등교육법) defines “school personnel” as follows:

Article 19 (Classification of School Personnel)

(1) The following teachers shall be assigned to schools:

1. Elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, civic schools, high civic schools, high technical schools and special schools shall have principals, assistant principals, advanced skills teachers and teachers: Provided, That any school which is smaller than a certain scale prescribed by Presidential Decree among schools with not more than 100 students or not more than 5 classes may not have an assistant principal;

2. Various kinds of schools shall have required teachers in the manner described in subparagraph 1.

(2) Schools shall have personnel in addition to teachers, such as administrative personnel necessary for the operation of schools.

(3) Schools may have teachers holding positions who share school affairs among teachers to ensure the smooth operation of schools.

(4) Matters necessary for the number of teachers and personnel (hereinafter referred to as “school personnel”) to be assigned to schools shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree, specific assignment standards by level of school shall be determined by guidance and supervision organization referred to in Article 6 (hereinafter referred to as “competent authorities”) and the Minister of Science, Education and Technology shall report the matters on the number of teachers to the National Assembly each year.

– Translation by KLRI (Korea Legislation Research Institute)

III. Punishment for Failure to Report


A relevant worker/professional who fails to report a “Child Abuse Crime” could face a fine (과태료) of up to 5 million won. In October 2014, 3 middle school teachers in Gangwon-do were each fined (1.5 million won) for failure to report a “Child Abuse Crime.” This was the first such case. It seems that the teachers were fully aware that a female student in their class was habitually being abused by her parents. Reports say the parents were being physically abusive. They even forcefully cut her hair as punishment. The teachers were fully aware, yet did nothing.

It should be noted that failure to report is not a crime. Unlike “벌금,” a fine in the form of “과태료” (i.e., administrative fine) means the corresponding violation is not a crime. So, such a violation will not end up on one’s criminal record.

Above was the old government pamphlet. Since September 2014, the maximum administrative fine (for failure to report) has been upped to 5 million won (from 3 million). Also, the number to call now is 112.

IV. Reporting vs. Intervening Directly

Once reported, the police (or child protection agency personnel) are required to respond “w/o delay.” They will go investigate and take the appropriate “emergency measures.” If serious, the child can even be removed or taken to a protective/medical facility for a maximum of 72 hours (which can be extended). If deemed necessary, the judge can further take “temporary measures” such as issuing a restraining order.

But, what about intervening directly? If you read the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Child Abuse Crimes, you’ll notice it says nothing about a 3rd party’s right to intervene directly. In such case, Article 21 of the Criminal Act (형법) could apply. Yes, the “self-defense” clause. In Korea, “self-defense” includes “defense of others.” So, if you witness firsthand a “Child Abuse Crime” being perpetrated, you would have the (legal) right to physically intervene directly.

V. What Lies Ahead

I recently read that the number of “child abuse” reports have gone up in the last couple of months (which is good). Still, some experts point out we desperately need more budget. For instance, with the current level of staff/personnel, it’s sometimes hard to respond “w/o delay.” Also, we need better ways to protect the identities of those who actually make the reports. Many Koreans are still averse to reporting lest they fall victim to some form of retaliation from the abusive (and maybe hot-tempered) parents.

Above is an informative video clip on preventing/reporting “child abuse.” It was distributed by the National Child Protection Agency (중앙아동보호전문기관) right after the new law came into effect.

Thanks for reading!
Korean-child-abuse  Korean-sex-abuse  Korean-law 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Child Abuse in Korea - "Professionals" Required to Report Crime: Sentences Increased & Police Receiving More Training on the Needs of Victims
Child Abuse in Korea – “Professionals” Required to Report Crime: Sentences Increased & Police Receiving More Training on the Needs of Victims

Most crimes, in Korea, related to the most vulnerable in society are seeing more attention by the police & prosecution and greater sentences from judges – child abuse is no exception.

In Korea, child abuse may be punished under the Act on Special Cases Related to the Punishment etc. of Child Abuse Crimes (아동학대범죄의 처벌 등에 관한 특례법). Some individuals may be held civilly liable (fined) for not reporting child abuse.

The law defines a child as anyone under the age of 18 (legal – Western age). To report a crime, it is advisable to contact your local police office or call 112. A formal statement may be given to the police in writing. If you are unable to communicate in Korean, it is advisable to bring a Korean-speaking friend.

Child Abuse in Korea Defined
Child Abuse

The following is considered, in Korea, child abuse:

Harm inflicted on child that may damage the health and welfare of the child;
Physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a child; and
Cruel acts that may impede the natural growth of a child.

Affirmative Duty to Report
“Professionals” have an affirmative duty to report child abuse. Professionals, include, teachers (even Hagwon teachers) and all other school personnel. The punishment for not reporting a child abuse crime for a “professional” is a fine of up KRW 5million. A fine may lead, for foreigners, to deportation

For more information on Child Abuse in Korea please visit: National Child Protection Agency. Yes, Korea has a government agency for everything.

Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.
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Korean-child-abuse  Korean-sex-abuse  Korean-law 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
In rape and sexual assault cases, South Korean women seek justice even after telling the truth | The Japan Times
Exploitation of the legal loophole is not confined to sex crimes.

An architecture practice employee was convicted of defaming his employer and fined after accurately revealing wage delays and other business irregularities online.

Women have been charged with defamation for writing bad reviews of plastic surgeons and postnatal care centers, only to have their convictions overturned on appeal at the Supreme Court.

And ousted President Park Geun-hye’s chief of staff, Kim Ki-choon, was nicknamed the “lawsuit king” for a barrage of criminal defamation complaints he filed against journalists and media outlets.

‘The Witch’

In a bid to curb such tactics, Seoul’s Justice Ministry this month told prosecutors not to investigate sex abuse victims for false accusation until the original case has been resolved.

But prosecutors dropped 55 percent of sex crime cases in 2016, far higher than the 22 percent for homicide or 26 percent for burglary and robbery, according to the Institute of Justice.

Even if a case goes to court, the South’s laws define rape on the basis of “means of violence and intimidation” rather than a lack of consent, requiring victims to prove that they resisted.

Rape charges have been dismissed in the past because judges deemed the victims had “not resisted hard enough.”

Korea Women’s Hotline says only about 10 percent of rape complaints it receives qualify as rape under the current law.

A U.N. panel on gender equality earlier this year urged Seoul to redefine rape and protect victims from false charges and defamation lawsuits.

D’s attacker continued to sue her even after getting out of jail, until he was convicted of stalking and intimidation in 2014 and fined, ending her four-year ordeal.

Since then she has become an activist anonymously helping other sex abuse survivors, calling herself “The Witch” on the basis that she had been the victim of a witch-hunt.

“There were so many women like me out there who were sued by their abusers,” she said, “feeling angry and frustrated at being treated like criminals even when we are actually victims.”

“Now Korean women cannot and will not go back to the past. We will never stop fighting.”
Korean-rape  Korean-law  Korean-sexual-assault  Korean-sexual-violence  Korean-libel  Korean-defamation  Korean-homicide  Korean-female-homicide 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Three-strike system introduced to prevent dating abuse
A three-strike system against dating abuse will be enforced starting from Monday, according to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.

The system is being implemented in order to strengthen measures against date crimes amid an increasing number of date abuse cases.

The three-strike system applies to people who commit date abuse crimes at least three times to the same victim, who will then go to court even though the victim does not wish to punish the offender.

If the victim reports the dating violence for the first time, the offender can be indicted if the victim has evidence that they were abused at least three times by the same person but didn‘t report it.

Prosecutors said that date crimes are not just a crime or threat, but a crime that could develop into an injury or death.

There have been 10,303 reported cases of date violence in 2017, marking a sharp increase from 6,675 in 2014. Only 3 percent of the arrested offenders for date violence were sentenced to jail in the first quarter of 2017.
Korean-dating  Korean-law  Korean-crime  Korean-relationships  Korean-sexual-assault  Korean-sexual-violence 
july 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Government Cracks Down on Stalkers | Be Korea-savvy
New legislation that would result in prison terms of up to five years for convicted stalkers is in the works.

Under current law, stalking is usually categorized as a misdemeanor and typically results in a fine of 100,000 won.

The Ministry of Justice announced today a new legislative bill that would revise current laws governing stalking in an attempt to impose harsher punishment on stalkers while better protecting victims.

The revised bill defines stalking as “going against the victim’s wishes by continuously or repeatedly performing certain acts to create a sense of discomfort or fear in victims.”

Acts of stalking involve approaching, following, or blocking one’s way; observing one’s home, workplace or school, or the vicinity; and sending texts, photos, sound effects, videos or objects via post, phone, fax, and computer communication devices.

Stalkers will be subject to a maximum of three years in prison or be imposed a fine up to 30 million won.

Offenders that are in possession of dangerous items or weapons may be imprisoned for up to five years and imposed a fine of as much as 50 million won.

The court may also order 200 hours of treatment or preventative programs when a culprit is handed down a guilty verdict, and temporary orders may be issued before the verdict itself is issued to protect victims and ensure that the investigation goes smoothly.

The revised bill proposes that law enforcement officers investigate the scene immediately after a stalking complaint is filed. Investigators must also lead victims to a protection facility or a consultation center if desired.

Each police station will also employ an officer specialized in stalking who would be in charge of questioning the victims. The Ministry will be taking legislative steps after collecting relevant opinions on the topic until June 19.
Korean-sexual-harassment  Korean-stalkers  Korean-sexual-assault  Korean-law 
may 2018 by thegrandnarrative

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