Q) This past weekend I was involved in some altercation with a Korean guy at the local bar. I pushed him slightly, but he fell down and broke his wrist. He phoned a police officer and filed a criminal accusation against me. I am an E-2 visa holder. What can I do now to help myself?
A) If you are a first offender and had no other criminal record, I don’t think this case becomes a serious one.However, as you are a foreigner, any conviction could lead to an exit order and an entry ban decision from the Korean immigration office. Under the current rule, if a foreigner is fined more than 5,000,000KRW for any crime in Korea, the immigration office can issue an exit order and a future visa application and extension could be denied. It can also result in an entry ban. Under the rule, the duration of the entry ban is as follows:
the total amount of fine for the last 1 year exceeds 5,000,000KRW: 1 year
committed any crime more than 2 times for the last 1 year: 1 year
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…)
We’ve been asked about a criminal charge against an adultery under Korean criminal law quite often. Foreign employees in Korean should be cautious that adultery is a crime under Korean law. Here is a real example of such a case where a foreign officer committed an adultery and the company(employer)’s legal concern made them ask for some legal consultation to our law firm regarding the adultery law and criminal law process in Korea.
Q) Mr. XX, who is a head director of our company, committed an adultery and was charged by the Korean prosecutor. He has confessed his guilty and the prosecutor demanded one year’s imprisonment for his crime to the court. If the court finalizes that Mr. XX is guilty, does that mean Mr. XX will be imprisonment for one year or lesser?
A) Finding guilty does not always mean Mr. XX will be imprisoned. The Court may SUSPEND the imprisonment for certain years even though Mr. XX is guilty. The Korean Criminal Act provides that a married person who commits adultery shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years. However, the Act also provides the execution of the sentence for an adultery can be (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…)
Recently we got a question from a foreigner. She was wondering if she could take any legal action against her Korean ex-employee who harassed her by spreading false information about her and telling the customers not to do a business with her.
From a perspective of Korean Criminal law, currently there is no general legislation on regulating the harassment or stalking. The respective laws have its own regulations on which behavior constitutes a certain crime and what remedies the harassed party is entitled to seek.
Generally speaking, a person who defamed another by publicly alleging facts (false or even true) shall be punished by imprisonment or imprisonment without prison labor for not more than 2 years or by a fine not exceeding five million won according to Criminal Act of South Korea.
Notably, any person who sends out letters or text messages inflicting fear or apprehension to another person repeatedly shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or (more…)
Previously I had a chance to write a post about a divorce issue when a husband did an act of unchastity. By the way, what if he did commit an adultery? It surely not only constitutes a legal ground for divorce in favor of the wife, but also the wife can accuse the husband of adultery to the police. That is because, according to the Korean Criminal Law, unlikely with the U.S. law, (more…)