We are taking about a situation where a foreigner is accused of any crime in Korea but he has already left Korea for any reason. Some might come back to Korea to defend himself or some might just ignore it. However, just ignoring can’t free you from the potential legal risk. You won’t be allowed to enter into Korea and could be arrested at the border. Recently, Korean Police is very active in requesting the INTERPOL to issue a red notice in order to have law enforcement worldwide locate and provisionally arrest the suspect.
Then can a foreign suspect resolve a pending criminal investigation case while staying abroad? The answer is yes, but in a very exceptional case. The Korean prosecutors are having a strict position that all suspects must appear at the face-to-face interrogation with the investigating authority. If the suspect refuses to do so or the Korean prosecutor can’t locate the suspect, the prosecutor suspends the investigation and asks the court to issue an arrest warrant. This warrant is noticed to the Korean immigration office. As a result, the suspect could be arrested when s/he passes the Korean border. Being abroad are usually insufficient as a just excuse.
There are, however, certain exceptions where the criminal case can be resolved without the suspect’s personal appearance: (more…)
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. (more…)
The Seoul Bar Association has recently issued a Self-Advocacy Note for the use of any criminal suspect under the Korean investigative procedures. Before this being issued, the National Human Rights Commissions had recommended the police and the prosecutors to guarantee the criminal suspects’ right to take notes. Although this may sound weird to some from other countries, the Korean police and prosecutors have been prohibiting the suspects from taking their own notes during the interrogation.
This Self-Advocy note is prepared in order to help any suspect inducing a foreign suspect to fully understand and examine his/her statutory rights to self-advocacy before and during the investigative procedures. You can download it at the homepage of the Seoul Bar association or by clicking here.
This also contains a good explanation of the overall investigative procedures under Korean law. Below is quoted from the English version of Self-Advocacy Note which explains about the Criminal Investigative Procedures in Korea. It should be greatly appreciated that (more…)
Last September, Supreme Porsecutors Office(SPO) investigated the ex-head of Military Mutual Aid Association(MMAA) and his son as they had received 30,000 stocks of Kenertec, a Korean Energy company, from its representative in response to securing investments from the MMAA.
Mr. Wonil Chung, a partner of Chung & Partners, represented the son and succeeded in making the SPO drop the charge and not prosecuting him.
Afterward, the SPO prosecuted only the ex-head of MMAA to the court, but last Friday, Seoul Central District Court sentenced not guilty stating there is no evidence that supports there had happened any illegal activities.
Under Korean Criminal Law, a person who, administering other’s business, receives property or obtains advantage from a 3rd party in response to an illegal solicitation concerning his duty, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 5 yeard or by a fine not exceeding 10 million won.
Established in 1984 as a special organization under the Ministry of National Defense, the MMAA administers assistance for military personnel and veterans. It has 160,000 members and its assets are valued at 7.8 trillion won ($5.94 billion). The organization has seven businesses and recorded a total profit of 153.7 billion won last year.
This case had drawn big attentions within Korean society because of the MMAA’s powerful position in Korea’s financing & investment market and new government and SPO’s attempt to scrape out public enterprises’ corruption. But at least in this case, (more…)