How to Cope with the Korean Police’s Summon for Criminal Investigation

Can Korean Police Issue a Summon Even When the Suspect Resides Abroad?

For a starter, there may be a question about whether the Korean police can summon a foreigner who resides abroad.  The answer is yes. The Korean criminal law applies to those who have committed crimes within Korea and then gone abroad, as well as those who have committed crimes against Koreans while staying outside of Korea.  Thus, a foreign resident could be sued and accused by the Korean police, and in such case, the Korean police moves to demand the foreign suspect to attend the investigation in Korea.  Recently, our office sees many cases where a foreign resident employee of a foreign company is called in by the Korean police in relation with its Korean subsidiary’s business.

Do I have to comply with the summon?

Since a foreign country is not within the domain of Korea’s criminal jurisdiction, it is not mandatory for the foreign resident suspect to comply with the summon.  However, if the foreign resident suspect refuses to comply with, the Korean law enforcement authority can get an arrest warranty, which could put the suspect at risk of being arrested upon entering Korea.

If I turn myself in the investigation in Korea, what should I prepare in advance?

First of all, you need to find out what you are accused of.  Confirmation of facts is essential, and legal review and gathering any favorable evidences and materials is something you should prepare in advance.  As this is a legal matter, it is also advisable to hire an English speaking Korean lawyer.  It is possible for the Korean lawyer to discuss with the Police about the investigation details, scope, and even the date and time of appearance.

What are the precautions when being investigated?

Korean police provides interpreter for a foreign suspect.  However, if possible, it is recommended to consult with the investigators in advance so that you can be accompanied by the interpreter designated by yourself.

Your answers to the questions by the investigator should be true, simple and relevant.  You have a right to remain silence as well.

Korean police is taking extra precautions to prevent human rights violations during their investigation.  Under the Korean law, suspects are protected by the right to the legal counsel all through criminal proceedings.  Thus, it’s also a good idea to bring your Korean criminal defense lawyer to the investigation.

Does the investigation require several times of investigation?

A simple case ends up with one investigation, but a complex case can require several investigations and appearances.  A cross-examination could be done.

What happens as a next step when the investigation is complete?

When the police investigation is complete, the investigator will organize the investigation results and submit his opinion to the prosecutor.  In Korea, the prosecutor has the right and authority of investigation.  After reviewing the case records and the opinion of the investigator, the prosecutor may summon the suspect to the prosecutor’s office for questioning if further investigation is deemed necessary.

When the investigation is complete, the prosecutor will take action.  If found guilty, the case shall move to either an indictment or a summary order.  If found not guilty, the case shall be dropped.

If you have any question regarding this article or you are in a similar case/situation, please visit our Legal Consultation center or send your inquiry email by clicking here.  Our Korean qualified lawyer will answer your inquiry.

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Rights of a Criminal Suspect during the Korean Investigation Procedures – Self-Advocacy Note Presented by the Seoul Bar Association

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