Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another overseas Korean wanted for murder has been working as an English teacher

[Update: The story is now in the Korea Times, Joongang Daily, Focus News Network, Hanguk Ilbo (under the title "2nd generation Korean Canadian fleeing murder robbery arrested;Also an unqualified native speaking teacher [while] in Korea") and Yonhap, under the title "After murder in Canada, gyopo fled to Korea, taught English." Yonhap tells us that "It was discovered that Y had no problem teaching English in Language Hagwons despite having no teaching qualifications," and suggests the immigration violations Ye is being investigated for is teaching English illegally.]

It's been a busy month for foreign English teacher stories in the news, with new ones coming almost daily. Yesterday's I came across after reading this NoCut News article:
Korean Canadian murderer a 'native speaking teacher' in Cheongdam-dong and Mok-dong
Surrenders due to pressure of extradition warrant

It has come to light that a second generation Korean Canadian who committed murder in Canada has been working as an English teacher at English hagwons in Cheongdam-dong and Mok-dong for several years.

The national police service's foreign affairs section announced today that a Korean Canadian, Y (25), had been arrested for violating immigration law and was set to be extradited.

Police discovered that Y fled to Korea after he and ethnic Korean accomplices broke into a marijuana grow op in Toronto and shot and killed a person in May 2007.

Of particular interest is the fact that during his time on the run in Korea, Y openly taught as a 'native speaking teacher' at English hagwons in Cheongdam-dong and Mok-dong.

However, at the end of the 2008, Y was added to Interpol's 'red notice' wanted list at the request of the Canadian government. In August, at Canada's request, the Seoul High Court issued an arrest warrant for extradition, and feeling the pressure of this, Y turned himself in to police today.

After their investigation into Y's immigration crimes are complete, he will be transferred to the Seoul Detention Center, and at an extradition hearing at the Seoul High Court a final decision will be made regarding his extradition.

Y will be tried in Canada for first degree murder.
The Maeil Gyeongje tells a similar story, adding that he also taught in Jamsil-dong and Samjeon-dong in Songpa-gu. If you were disappointed that NoCut News wasn't up to its normal, biased standard of 'reporting,' then perhaps the Herald Gyeongje's story, titled "How can we [possibly] trust English hagwons [enough] to send our children to them? Overseas Korean fleeing murder charge worked here as a native speaking teacher" will be more to your liking. It reveals more about the crime that Y, referred to here as "Ye," committed, but I'll get to that in a moment.
A shock was received today when it was learned that a Korean Canadian who committed a murder in Canada fled to Korea and worked as a native speaking teacher for more than a year. This person was lacking any required qualifications such as a university degree and a criminal to boot, which proves that criminals can enter the native speaker teacher market, once again bringing English hagwon native speaking teachers' qualifications under fire. [...]

In July 2007, Ye fled the Canadian police and entered Korea using his passport. It has become known that while hiding out here, Ye worked as a native speaking teacher at English hagwons in Cheongdam-dong and Mok-dong. In particular, police noted that despite being a high school dropout, Ye worked in Gangnam and Mok-dong areas for more than one year as a native speaking teacher.
The article ends with a police official expressing shock that Ye worked as a native speaking teacher in the Mok-dong and Gangnam areas without any teaching qualifications and stating that police plan to investigate the hagwons which hired him.

A search in English for information turned up a Toronto Sun article from January 29 this year titled "Murder suspect teaching in S. Korea, cops say".
Toronto homicide detectives believe that the man who shot another in the head during a 2007 marijuana-related home invasion is teaching English in South Korea.

They want Sang-Woo Ye, 27, to pack up and return home, where he faces a first-degree murder charge, along with conspiracy to commit robbery and forcible confinement. Korean police are searching for the Canadian-born man.

Det.-Sgt. Dan Nielsen alleges it was Ye who pulled the trigger, killing Khong Duy Nguyen, 33, on May 9, 2007, in the victim’s Dean Park Dr. home, which was also the site of a marijuana grow operation.

Nguyen and his wife were bound in separate rooms during a robbery set up by a relative by marriage, Nielsen said. During the robbery of a large quantity of marijuana, Nguyen was shot in the head.

He said Ye has been in South Korea for a “couple of years” and taught English.

“We have been working with Korean authorities and the RCMP to locate him so he can be returned to Canada,” Nielsen said. “He knows that he’s wanted.”[...]

Four Toronto men, who were originally charged with first-degree murder, have since been convicted of lesser charges.
Digital Journal has an article from the same day titled "Man sought for Toronto murder, thought to be in S. Korea," which also has a photo of Ye. It notes that the murder took place on May 9, 2007, and reveals this:
Homicide Squad Detective Sergeant Dan Nielsen of the Toronto Police said in a phone interview that Ye is a Canadian citizen with family in South Korea. Ye has a visa that has been extended once to be in that nation.
I think it's safe to assume that Ye is on an F-4 visa, and thus he wouldn't need any kind of criminal background or diploma verification check (at least the ones required by immigration). Cases involving people working as English teachers who were either former Korean American gang members, such as those arrested in October 2006 (see here and here), or Korean Americans wanted for murder (Such as David Nam in 2008 (see here and here) or the person caught in March, or Daniel Min Suh, who is still a fugitive and may be in Korea) have occurred several times, and each time there are calls to tighten the visa process which are invariably aimed at E-2 visa holders, even though much of the time the offenders are either Korean citizens or F-4 visa holders.

On the bright side, you do get some fun cartoons:

'English instructor' (2006, from here)


"Wanted" "Teacher" (2008, from here)


(Gumiho teacher, 2010, from here)


I wonder what we'll get this time?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New E-2 rules to be postponed to 2012

[Update: The delay applies only to people already in the country who are renewing their visas - see here for more details.]

This has been talked about on Dave's, with several people saying they were hearing this from various sources. I got an email today from the foreign teacher coordinator for my district education office which reads:
I'm sure you've heard about the new requirements for getting a visa. Since the new rules turned out to be so difficult, the office of immigration decided to delay implementing the new regulations until 2012. If you plan on staying in Korea past 2012, keep in mind that eventually you will need an apostilized copy of your college diploma and a complete background check from your home country.
You'd think that immigration might have figured this out when they implemented the last set of visa regulation changes three years ago that these things take time, especially when requiring a federal criminal check that takes 3-4 months to receive. That said, some of what they plan to implement looks good, such as entering diplomas into a database for at least 10 years, allowing criminal record checks to stay on file so that they are not needed if the applicant is out of the country for less than three months between visas, and tacking on an extra month to each one year entry period.

In other news, several news outlets are reporting that language teachers on E-2 visas will be able to work for companies and public institutions starting from December. Up until now it's only been legal for E-2s to work at hagwons, schools, or training institutes, and this will allow companies to have in-house language teachers (or so says Yonhap). [And now the Korea Times].

Scouting the City: Crosstians




As James Wade introduces these columns in his book One Man's Korea,
Ever since the middle of 1964, I have been receiving at my office weekly visits from a flabby, furtive, rat-faced character who thrusts in front of me a few illegibly scribbled sheets of foolscap headed "Scouting the City." These sheets I have duly edited and transcribed into the Saturday column which has attracted various kinds of attention in The Korea Times from August, 1964 to date.

The shabby little man who thus entrusts to me his literary effusions calls himself Alf Racketts, and claims to be the illegitimate offspring of a retired geisha girl and a certain foreign columnist in Japan. [...]

[D]espite the repeated predictions of friend and foe alike, Mr. Racketts has yet to be deported, quizzed by the CIA, or tarred and feathered and rolled in kimchi.
Quite a few of the articles in the book deal with him criticizing western perceptions of Korea. This article, however, makes you glad that today we only have to deal with the visual 'clangor' of neon crosses, and not the aural assault described below:



Couldn't help chuckling at his dig at the Times. In that vein, there are a couple limericks in the 1971 book Chosun Limericks (which Wade edited and contributed to) which poke fun at the Times headlines, such as this one:


Some of the limericks are more off-colour than others, but I'll save them for another time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Foreign teachers = opium eaters; Korean English education doomed

[Update below regarding Customs statistics]


That's the main idea of a Gyeongin Ilbo editorial from yesterday titled "Opium eater Native speaking teacher," which describes many instances of drug smuggling world wide from places like Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, and the Netherlands, and tallies the cost of this horrible practice: 22,700 dead in the drug war in Mexico, others killed in a shootout at Carnivale, and grandmothers and young children used as mules. It then relates that drugs "literally paralyze the mind and body" and that two needles of opium could drop a bull. The last two sentences?
Yet in Korea, the bewildering thing is that 30% of drug crimes by foreigners are committed by native speaking teachers. Entrusting foreign language education to opium eaters and opium addicts is extremely dangerous, and that education will also not be [carried out ] properly.
As far as applying this to all drug crimes, it's ridiculous, as Thais have the market cornered on the most drug busts among foreigners. However, if it's referring only to drug smuggling (which, though it does not literally say so, from the context of editorial, I imagine it is), then it may be in the right ball park.

According to information in this post and this comment by Ben Wagner (who took the statistics from here), if we ignore our skepticism for different sets of statistics coming from different sources, the number of teachers busted for drug smuggling (from the National Tax Service) is tacked on to the Supreme Prosecutor's Office's stats:

Drug Smuggling Charges:
2006: 210 (Total), 34 (Foreigners), 11 (Teachers)
2007: 265 (Total), 48 (Foreigners), 22 (Teachers)
2008: 169 (Total), 63 (Foreigners), 22 (Teachers)
2009: 281 (Total), 61 (Foreigners), 17 (Teachers)

All Drug Related Charges:
2006: 7,709 (Total), 116 (Foreigners)
2007: 10,649 (Total), 298 (Foreigners)
2008: 9,898 (Total), 929 (Foreigners)
2009: 11,875 (Total), 890 (Foreigners)

[Updated table:]

The Korea Customs Service, on the other hand, provides statistics that are a bit different, but which refer specifically to foreign teachers:

Perhaps this is the source of the '30%' figure. If I had to trust any one agency in regards to this, I think Customs would be it (as opposed to the National Tax Service (?)). Note that they describe this smuggling as "a few or tens of grams of cannabis" sent "via mail or express consignments."

However, while the figure of around 30% seems to be correct, this does not take into account who is considered a foreign English teacher (E-2? F-2 and F-4? Someone on a tourist visa who once worked as a teacher, or who was teaching privates? Who knows?), and also ignores the fact that last year less than 0.1% of teachers were arrested for this. 99.9% weren't caught smuggling, but who cares? And I've never heard of an opium arrest involving teachers, but lets call them opium eaters (all drugs are the same, right?), and say they are a danger to foreign language education in Korea while we're at it - there's a nonsensical editorial to be written!

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Perverted sex acts" filmed in a classroom?

If the Quincy Black saga didn't make it clear enough already, uploading homemade porn to foreign porn sites is a bad idea if you have an interest in keeping your job.

On October 18, a user at DC Inside put up a post titled "Photos/video of married female elementary school teacher and foreign teacher adultery in school." He wrote that he hoped a capable person could figure out the location of the school, that he wanted to "expose bitches like these," and if not that then make it a news story. (Again, we see another example of trying to expose and humiliate transgressive women.) Below were photos of a middle-aged Korean woman posing in various stages of undress in what seems to be a Korean classroom (along with other photos unrelated to school). As you can see below, desks and chairs can be seen, as can books in Korean .


There is writing in Korean on a chalkboard, a sign saying (class) 4-3 (meaning it could only be in an elementary school).

(Photo from here.)

It was then followed by three links: one to a 'post your homemade porn social networking site" and two to another site where two videos had been posted. One of the latter videos, 'Korean at work' is seen in the above photo (the two photos on the left) in which the woman undresses and masturbates in front of a camera in a classroom, while the other, 'bj in bed,' obviously does not take place at the school. The link to the 'networking site' is a profile for an (apparently) middle-aged white male Australian user named 'korean husband,' and features numerous videos which, judging by the screen shots and titles, involve him 'pounding' the same woman in a bedroom. She also turns up in as photo galleries of her titled "Korean wife" (several of which were posted at DC Inside), and references are made by commenters to his wife as well.

It's incredible that the poster at DC Inside was able to figure out that the woman was married, that what they were doing was adulterous, and that he was a foreign teacher in Korea, and yet he couldn't also magically deduce the location of the school. I guess there are limits to his ability to conjure up facts despite there being a total lack of evidence.

He got part of what he wanted, however. The press did report on this, and as a result, the post at DC Inside has been removed, as has korean_husband's profile page. Both have a half life in Google cache, but the latter has this where an online ad should be, showing that the government has certainly taken notice.

The day after the post appeared at DC Inside, the Donga Ilbo published this report:
Sex acts between female elementary school teacher and foreign teacher in classroom?

A video and photos of a female elementary school teacher having sex with a foreign teacher in a classroom is circulating through the internet.

The incident in which a female middle school teacher had sex with a 15 year old male pupil is causing a great stir in society, and if it is confirmed that this video was shot in a classroom, it is expected to cause yet another great stir.

It has emerged that in the video a middle aged woman in a classroom faces the camera, bears her breasts, and engages in perverted sex acts or has sex with a foreign man.
The next paragraph describes all the evidence pointing to it having occurred in a classroom, like the classroom sign (4-3), writing on the blackboard in Korean, etc. It continues:
The video and photos in question were posted by the male foreign teacher at an overseas porn site and after that they became known after they spread into Korea. Videos from the overseas site with such titles as "Korean at work" are currently spreading.

It has not been confirmed that the woman or the foreign man are actually teachers. Some netizens are reporting it as being a "hoax video."*
Reporter Nam Won-sang is doing a stand-up job here of passing off lies and half truths based on netizen writings as news, and especially of conflating the contents of two different videos. The foreign guy was never in the classroom in any video or photo mentioned, but readers are told of a "video and photos of a female elementary school teacher having sex with a foreign teacher in a classroom." As for "perverted sex acts," that's an interesting way of referring to masturbation (granted, doing so at work, especially in an elementary school, is most certainly going to get you fired). I wonder if the writer figures he can get away with such a description because most people won't actually see the video. And then there's calling the white foreigner in the videos a "foreign teacher" despite there being no evidence of this.

This is all topped off by the statement, "It has not been confirmed that the woman or the foreign man are actually teachers. " I think it's safe to assume the woman is a teacher. In the photos posted at DC Inside, she has different clothes in the different photos and videos taken in the classroom, suggesting they were taken on different days, and I think it would be difficult to be left alone in a homeroom classroom on multiple occasions and feel comfortable enough to strip and take photos of yourself if it wasn't your classroom. There's nothing which would suggest the foreign guy's job, however, and if it "hasn't been confirmed," why describe him as a teacher four times? The title of the DC Inside post declared her to be married and an adulterer, and him to be a foreign teacher, but while the Donga Ilbo did not repeat those descriptions of her, it had no problem with that description of him. Perhaps there's a simple equation being followed: Korean woman + white man + sex = foreign (English) teacher.

New Daily also reported on this with an article titled "[Is the woman] in the elementary school classroom a female teacher? Shocking video of sexual activity with foreign man." Despite the conflation of two different videos in the title (and in the first paragraph), it mostly refers to the "foreign man," except in this sentence:
The video in question became known after a male foreign teacher posted it at an overseas porn site under the title 'Korean at work,' and it is currently being spread in Korea by netizens under the name 'Elementary school female teacher video.'
While the Donga Ilbo seemed to be giving marching orders ("if it is confirmed that this video was shot in a classroom, it is expected to cause yet another great stir"), these are the only two news articles about the photos and videos, which were likely overshadowed by the middle school teacher-student sex case which came to light a day earlier. The photos are circulating around the internet in Korea, however, and the story may get a second wind if the woman and the school are identified.


* Feel free to suggest a better translation of '낚시성 음란물' [Update: Thanks, Milton].

Friday, October 22, 2010

If they get uppity, sic the internet on them

As mentioned here, the Korea Times published an article yesterday titled 'Cyber terror' goes wild, which looked at the fallout from this case:
Some netizens are waging a “cyber terror” campaign against a 35-year-old female middle-school teacher found to have had an inappropriate relationship with a pupil by spreading photos of her and other private information in cyberspace.[...]

They copied her photos, the name of her workplace, family background and other information, and uploaded them onto Internet community sites, such as DC Inside (www.dcinside.com) and Netizen Crime Scene Investigators (www.nsiclub.com).

Netizens also posted the photos and other personal data of the indecent teacher on their websites and blogs, enabling a larger number of Internet users to view her private information.
What's hypocritical is that the Times then goes on to repeat much of the information spread about her (and give exact web addresses of sites with information about her). It then gives several recent examples of such "Cyber Terror":
It is not the first time a group of Internet users have invaded the privacy of certain individuals. A while ago, a female university student in Seoul called short men “losers” in a popular TV program. Many netizens were furious about her comment and began searching for her name, the name of her school and other private information. They spread what they found all over cyberspace and the female student became public enemy No. 1.

In another incident, when another female college student was filmed cursing a middle-aged cleaning woman on campus, many Internet users disclosed her personal data in cyberspace, including the occupations of her parents.
The article ends with a call for the government to "oblige all Internet users to write comments and engage in other online activities under their real names." This is hardly surprising, as this was the response to the incident which first drew attention to "cyber terror", the "dog poop girl" incident of June 2005. That incident was used to justify the 'real name system' which had been suggested two years earlier, as I mentioned here. Here are posts I wrote back in 2005 about this:

Internet Witchhunts and Conflict Resolution
Riding the wave of 'cyber terror' articles
'Real Names' in Korean Cyberspace
Portals and the Cyber Terror blame game

What was interesting was that when incidents of "cyber terror" were described in the media as the concept was being constructed, one incident did not get much mention, even though it had taken place just a few months earlier, and had been covered as an "invasion of privacy": The English Spectrum incident, where netizens tracked down the women who had appeared in photos with foreign English teachers at a sexy costume party and hounded them.

This had happened many times before, but for some reason the dog poop girl was the straw that broke the camel's back. In November 2000, a video clip of hit singer Baek Ji Young was spread on the internet and ruined her career. As Time reported, 'A typical Net posting reads: "Is Baek Ji Young a prostitute who gave up being a decent human being?"'

Baek wasn't the only singer to have her career ruined in such a way; in November 2007 Ivy was blackmailed by an ex-boyfriend who threatened to expose a sex tape (which never turned up). As reported at the time,
The Ivy scandal began to take off about three weeks ago. Since then, many netizens, boastful of their information-gathering prowess, have posted messages online gossiping about another man Ivy was supposedly involved with, passing judgment on her purported affairs, and even suggesting she should be beaten for being a "bad girl." Others simply want to know where they can buy the sex tape. Some Internet media outlets, eager for wider audiences, have posted such stories as if they are truthful.
In short time Ivy went from a top singer to no singing career (but has acted on TV since), and also suffered the indignity of being sued:
A cosmetics company on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against its spokesmodel, the pop singer Ivy. The company claims Ivy's lies and scandal-plagued private life have tarnished the company's brand image, as cosmetics are greatly dependent on the image of their spokesmodels. [...] The company is demanding that the singer's agency pay W500 million in compensation, double what it paid to her.
Before the lawsuit against Ivy, a similar one had occurred in 2004 against Choi Jin-sil, who was a spokesperson for Shinhan until she revealed her bruised face after being beaten by her husband, and the company successfully sued her for damaging their reputation. The result of an appeal was in Shinhan's favor, but came not too long after Choi had killed herself, perhaps in part due to malicious rumors spread by netizens. And while one can understand the company in this case wanting to get their money back from a model that went AWOL, did they really need to reveal things about her personal life and refer to her "promiscuity"?

Netizens also attacked model Kim Daul for posing partly nude, who criticized the attacks on her blog (but who also later committed suicide).

In more recent cases,
Top actress Kim Hee-sun is getting furious reactions from Internet users who criticized her for an “inappropriate” scarf [dotted with skulls] that she wore while paying her respects to the late Andre Kim.

Meanwhile, TV show anchor Song Ji-hyo’s laugh over her own pronunciation mistake, while covering Andre Kim’s death on an SBS entertainment program, also created controversy among netizens whether it should have been avoided.
Most recently we had the case of the "luxury girl", or Korea's "Paris Hilton," who was the subject of a netizen assault:
Her bragging caused a huge stir on the Internet and irked many. And a question was raised among netizens whether the girl, now famously known as the “400-milliion-won luxury girl,” is subject to any gift taxes.

Following the episode, the National Tax Service (NTS)’s website was bombarded with articles by angry citizens, who called for an intense tax audit of her parents.
And then there was this case of two women in 2006 who were interviewed by Sisa Journal, which then inserted the interviews into a negative article about "doenjang nyeo", or bean paste girls, a term that had become popular to describe vain girls obsessed with brand names:
The article identified them by their full real names, and published clear photos of them sipping coffee.

The women had little idea what would happen when the article was released on the magazine’s Internet edition. The two were bombarded with online comments about “how vain” they were and that they were good examples of how some thoughtless girls could “wring money out of their rich parents to waste it abroad.”

Internet users then got hold of more photos of the two and plastered them over the Internet bulletin boards and passed the photos around over online chat programs, denouncing them as typical doenjang-nyeo types that all men should beware of.

Shocked by the responses and frightened by threats they received, the two went to the Press Arbitration Commission to demand an official apology from the magazine, and said they were planning to file suit demanding compensation for “mental damages.”
By now it should be pretty clear what the gender of the victims in these cases was. While there have been cases of men being harassed by netizens, most of those cases involved already-known public figures. When it comes to netizens going after previously anonymous victims and digging up as much as possible about them (including posting their phone numbers and emails and information about their families), the targets have overwhelmingly been female. Part of me cynically wants to ask, "What better use for the internet than to use it to slap around young women, who are getting a bit uppity these days?"

This column by a female writer at the Chosun Ilbo, about Ivy's experience in 2007, is even more bitter:
This phenomenon stands in sharp contrast to cases involving male celebrities. Sex scandals involving men are seldom exposed. And even if photographs are posted to the Internet showing them lying on beds in hotel rooms, they can still enjoy high popularity. [...]

If we'd like to be realistic, we ought to give the following advice to women who might suffer similar scandals in the future: Give up your belief in social justice where the bad guys are punished, hand over your money whenever you're threatened, sit still for your beatings and never forget just what sort of society you're stuck with.
The fact that the targets of such "cyber terror" are overwhelmingly women is the elephant in the room which is not even mentioned in the Korea Times article at the top of this post. This isn't something I've delved into in the Korean language press to research - has anyone noticed this being discussed there at all?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Putting foreign teacher crime into context

As mentioned at the Marmot's Hole a few weeks ago, on September 21 NoCut News reported on the release of new crime statistics for English teachers - statistics which are quite different from the ones Rep. Lee Gun-hyeon released last year.
Ever-increasing native speaking teacher crimes ... [better] verification urgent

It has been revealed that the number of crimes by native speaking English teachers living in Korea have increased every year, an urgent situation [that calls for] the formulation of verification procedures.

National Assembly Budget and Accounts Committee and GNP member Lee Jeong-Hyeon revealed that, according to a submission by the National Police Agency, 600 native speaking English teachers had been charged for various crimes since 2007.

By year, the number charged increased from 139 in 2007 to 163 in 2008, 188 in 2009, and 110 up to the end of August this year.

By crime, 224 were charged with assault, 159 with immigration violations, and 91 with drug crimes.

"To increase confidence in the hiring of foreign English teachers, urgent preparation of verification procedures to block crimes in advance should be a priority," Lee said.
Oddly enough, NoCut News was the only news outlet to report on this, but then failed to use these statistics in the piece I posted yesterday, using Lee Gun-hyeon's instead.

So, as the article above mentions, the number of teachers committing crimes was 139 in 2007, 163 in 2008, and 188 in 2009. Compare that to Lee Gun-hyeon's figures (which I broke down here) of 114 in 2007, 99 in 2008, and 61 up to August 2009.

Now, it's hard to know what 'English teacher' actually means, but if it does include F-2 or F-4 visa holders, then it's impossible to know what the total number of teachers would be when determining a crime rate. So, like last year, I'll compare the number of crimes with the number of E-2 visa holders. These new statistics then give us the following annual crime rates:

2007 - 139 arrested out of 17,721 E-2 visas = 0.784%
2008 - 169 arrested out of 19,771 E-2 visas = 0.824%
2009 - 188 arrested out of 22,642 E-2 visas = 0.830%

According to these statistics, there has been 5.9% increase in crime by foreign teachers over the last three years. Will this "growing social problem" never end?

At any rate, using these statistics, if we compare the foreign teacher crime rate of 2007 (0.784%) to the Korean crime rate for 2007 (3.5%, according to this), the NET crime rate was 22.4% of the Korean crime rate, or 4.5 times less. I haven't found statistics for 2008, but according to this Korea Times article, a National Police Agency white paper stated that "police apprehended 2.33 million criminals across the nation in 2009." Yonhap puts the exact number at 2,333,715. That may include foreign criminals as well, but I don't think 40-odd thousand is going to make a huge difference. If we take that figure as a percentage of the total population (let's make it 50 million), we end up with a Korean crime rate of 4.66% for 2009. With a crime rate of 0.83%, the 2009 crime rate of foreign English teachers was then 17.8% of the Korean crime rate, or 5.6 times less.

So, again, based on the available statistics and on the reasoning above, the crime rate of foreign English teachers was 4.5 times less in 2007 and 5.6 times less in 2009.

For more along these lines, ROK Drop has an excellent breakdown of crimes by US soldiers in 2009 here.

Anti English Spectrum was, of course, all too willing to take credit for these statistics.


"From 2005 to 2010, 122 teachers (legal and illegal) have been caught by related institutions due to our group. This includes gyopos. The chart above includes those we caught. It is evidence of what a contribution our group has made."

Just for fun, it might be worth pointing out that during the two week period between September 29 and October 11, 36 negative articles about foreign teachers were published in the Korean-language media.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Endlessly occurring deviant and criminal behavior

NoCut News continues its fair and unbiased reports on foreign English teachers (such as here, here, and here) but instead of connecting separate cases and declaring there to be a "growing social problem," this article, from October 11, declares that because of endlessly occurring "deviant and criminal behavior" by foreign teachers, a system requiring verification of a teachers' moral standards is needed:

There needs to be a hearing on Native speaking instructors


English village instructor spread video of sex with Korean woman, [need to] prepare pre-employment verification system urgent


As the demand to study English increases, the number of native speaking instructors working in Korea greatly increases every year. However, problems with their qualifications are also never ending.

In particular, an English Village instructor in Daejeon recently filmed and spread a video of sex with a Korean woman, bringing the need for a comprehensive inspection in the hiring process of native speaking teachers to the fore.

According to an English Village in Daejeon on the 10th, a foreign instructor who worked there, A (26, American), shot a video of himself having sex with a Korean woman and uploaded it onto a foreign adult site.

The teacher had worked at the English Village since May of last year, and taught kindergarten and elementary students five hours a day, four days a week.

It has been exposed that after posting his profile on a friend finding site, A looked for women, and filmed the women he met.

The video was removed from the site A uploaded it to, but the video and screen captures of it are being spread on various online communities.

Regarding this, an English Village official explained that, “In order to get an E-2 visa, which is needed to employ native speaking teachers, there had to be no crimes [on his criminal record check], and during his employment there were no particular problems,” and “We confirmed the truth, and he is currently no longer employed.”

However through the stir caused by this video [it can be seen] that, for the company contracted to operate the English Village and the local governments that manage them, it’s difficult to avoid problems with poor management of instructors.

An English village official said, "If discussions are necessary, then [we will] apologize to parents and students," and “to prevent a recurrence, measures such as strengthening ethical standards during the recruitment process and carrying out ongoing training will be prepared for native speaking instructors."

Such deviant and criminal behavior by native speaking teachers has been occurring endlessly, and is persuasive [evidence] that there is a need to prepare a comprehensive verification system.

According to a recent National Police Agency report on the state of foreign English instructor crime, from 2007 to August 2009, 274 instructors were arrested for strong, crimes such as theft, drugs, assault, and sexual assault.

Currently, because native speaking instructor recruitment only fully works on paper, many point out that it is urgent that a methodical verification system be devised.

The problem teacher in question was also recruited from the U.S. but it is said that when the visa was issued, his qualifications were evaluated on the basis of such things as a university diploma, a health check, and a criminal record check. Also, following their own regulations, recruitment agencies conduct interviews in Korea and locally but have made the instructor’s academic ability the standard rather than the instructor’s sense of ethics.

Because of this, last year Representative Choi Young-hee (Democratic Party), proposed an amendment to strengthen the Early Childhood Education Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Hagwon Act by making Korean criminal record checks and drug tests mandatory when recruiting foreign teachers, however due to things such as human rights issues, it is drifting around the National Assembly.

Rep. Choi said, “Recently, demand for foreign teachers has been rapidly increasing due to things like English immersion policy, but verification and administrative measures to deal with them are non-existent,” and, “Amending these laws as soon as possible should provide a more secure learning environment for children and teens.”

----

The above article is quite similar to this one by the Asia Gyeongje published a few hours earlier, though that paper scores a few more nationalist points for referring to the girl(s) in the videos as "우리나라 여성," and to the students of the teacher as "우리나라 아이들." NoCut News' article ends on a note very similar to this one (as in, 'Ctrl C, Ctrl V'), calling for Choi Young-hee's bills to be passed, even though they differ very little from the new regulations immigration recently put into place.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Korea's age of consent under scrutiny?

[Another update: In this case, where a 17-18 year old high school girl with a 25 year old boyfriend was expelled for being pregnant, her teachers threatened to report him to the police for having sex with a minor. A pretty empty threat, as it turns out, but one both sides appeared to believe was real.]

[Update: There are English language articles in the Korea Herald and Joongang Ilbo, with the latter stating the teacher has been fired.]

[Update below - I found the MBC news piece.]

I was out last night with friends and half-noticed a news item on the TV which showed what I realized too slowly was a list of ages of consent around the world, with Canada at the top (16/14) and then getting lower in age until Korea - but the list disappeared just as I was about to read the age next to Korea. Being at the bottom of the list, I assumed it was 13, which is what has been stated before (see here, and an in-depth look at the Grand Narrative here). I mentioned this to the Korean friend I was with and he told me a case about a married school teacher in Hwagok-dong having sex with her middle school student was all over the internet. It slipped my mind until now, but sure enough, it's in the Korea Times:
A 33-year-old female middle school teacher has been found having inappropriate relationship with one of her pupils. According to Gangseo Police Station in Seoul, the contract female teacher allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old student in her car at an underground park [at Yeongdeungpo Station] last week.

The teacher, who has worked at the school for more than a year, is married and has two children attending elementary schools, police said.

The relationship was revealed by the student’s mother, when she saw a text message between her son and the homeroom teacher.

The mother reported it to the police, but the police said they terminated the investigation as the two had sex under mutual consent and there was therefore no legal grounds to punish the teacher.

The current law punishes only adults having sex with those aged under 13. However, the school plans to fire the teacher for the unethical relationship.
It goes on to say that it's causing a stir on the internet, with her personal information being spread around, and lots of photos like this are appearing in different articles:
[Update: This article mentions that the teacher and student were from H Middle School in Hwagok-dong. A search using daum's map turned up two schools beginning with H, and doing a search for the one not named after the neighbourhood quickly turned up a teacher's name, Cyworld page, photos, and an assertion that she was an English teacher. I doubt she'll ever work as a teacher again (though I believe an English village in Daejeon is currently hiring.]

What's really odd is that she is not being punished for having sex with one of her own students, something that would be illegal in, say, Canada, as people in a position of authority are not allowed to have sexual relationships with anyone under their care, even if they are above the age of consent. I'll try to track down that MBC report I saw last night, as it makes clear that the age of consent has been openly announced.
___

Update:

So the MBC report in question is here, and opens with shots of an underground parking garage to help set the scene of the encounter. It describes what happened and stated that the police had stopped the investigation before looking at similar cases in the U.S. and Taiwan (involving female teachers and male students) that resulted in 10 year and 8 month prison sentences. It eventually moves along to this:


Sex with [someone] under 13 - Unconditional punishment
[Sex With a] teen 13 and over - if the sex is consented to, there is no punishment


The next shot shows the chart I mentioned above titled "The sex 'consent age' of various countries." Notice how 'consent age' is in quotations, as if it is a new or foreign idea. The term in Korean (성관계 승낙 나이) is practically the same as the definition mentioned by James in his post, though as he noted it appeared overwhelmingly in reference to changes in Canada's age of consent law in 2008.

The chart lists ages of consent for Canada, Germany, Australia and Poland, almost all of which contradict what can be found on Wikipedia; Canada's is 16, Germany's 14, (there's certainly nothing about a difference between genders), Australia's is 16 or 17, depending on the state, and Poland's Finland's is 15.

MBN's piece on this case also contained this:


Rape or indecent assault/molestation of minors

Article 307 of the penal code:
Sex with a minor under the age of 13 will be punished even if there is consent.

This is to give the healthy sexual development of minors under the age of 13 the protection of the law.
So much for the "healthy sexual development of minors" who are 13 and over, I guess. It's pretty incredible that that is offered as the rationale for protecting those under 13, since a glance at my grade 6 students would make it pretty clear that most of the boys and many of the girls have barely even begun puberty.

Some things to note while I think of it: According to marriage practices of the Joseon era, girls had to be married by the age of 16 or would face a great deal of social pressure to do so, as the single braid they wore marked them as unmarried (just in case unmarried women in their thirties think things are bad today). It might be a bit much to suggest that Korean law regarding sex with minors hasn't moved beyond laws 100 years ago, but with the age of consent as low as it is, who's to say? Also, it would appear that one of the premises of this film is off-base (wherein a female teacher spends some time in jail for seducing one of her high school students). And it's nice to see New Daily taking this seriously (in regard to the photos).

Going back to the MBC piece, and the chart above, I wonder if this is the first time such a discussion of Korea's age of consent - one comparing it with others around the world - has been on the news, especially one stating that Korea's age of consent, at 13, is the "lowest in the world."

I wonder if this will be the news item that pushes changes in the law to occur, though I have to wonder what the reaction would have been had it been a male teacher and female student.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bits and pieces

A court has upheld Kim Su-cheol's life sentence for kidnapping an 8 year old from her school and raping her back in June. Hopefully this is an example of sentences to come.

Perhaps anklets aren't as foolproof as once thought. Technology is not always the answer, though I'm sure the manufacturers are happy people (and that goes for CCTV camera makers, as CCTV was widely called for after Kim Su-cheol's crime, despite the fact that the school did in fact have CCTV, which captured him entering the school grounds and then leaving with the girl).

The Korea Herald also reports on the increasing number of people convicted of buying sex attending "John School":
In a report from the Justice Ministry submitted to the National Assembly, a total of 99,958 were sent to the john school program as an alternative to criminal prosecution from 2005 to August last year. The figure has risen dramatically over the past five years, from 2,297 in 2005 to 11,775 in 2006, 16,379 in 2007, 19,811 in 2008 and 37,477 in 2009.

The program is a type of educational intervention aimed at helping prevent johns from repeating these offenses. By profession, office workers took up the largest portion of those who took part in the rehabilitation program.

Noteworthy is that those with high-income professions such as doctors and lawyers amounted to 13 percent of attendees in 2006. That rate later skyrocketed to 29.5 percent in 2008.
Of course, we're all well aware of this, since doctors and lawyers are routinely vilified in the media here as being sex criminals. In all seriousness though, I wonder how many of the 37,477 who were arrested in 2009 (which I imagine is not the total, as it's only the number of people who attended john school) were mentioned in media reports.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cheongdo Station, 1954

I've meant to post this short story by James Wade, a vignette from his time in Korea as a soldier just after the Korean War, for some time now. As the ending relates to a discussion going on in the comments here, I thought now was a good time to post it. It appears to take place at Cheongdo station, which is on the gyeongbu rail line south of Daegu, about halfway between Daegu and Miryang. On a related note, I managed to copy Wade's 1975 book West Meets East and his 1971 collection Chosun Limericks at Yonsei University library yesterday, so I have even more of his material to draw upon.





Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Hankyoreh has issued a correction and apology for misinterpreting statistics in an earlier article regarding the number of foreign teachers who quit early, stating that the actual figure is less than 5%. They also note that
The report on native English teachers at public schools was confirmed to be an analysis by Grand National Party(GNP) Lawmaker Kim Se-yeon and Park Yeong-a on the basis of central and a number of local education administrations, not a press release of Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST).
It's nice to see the correction (and apology) - I don't actually know if I've ever seen a correction in an English language paper here before. Has anyone else?

Sex crime prevention training for foreign teachers

Asia Today, Asan Ilbo, and Newstown carried the story below, translated from Newstown's article, which has the title:

"2010 hagwon native speaking instructor sex crime prevention training

Asan educational support center carries out sex crime prevention training"

Great, I thought. Considering recent events like these, it's good that one city cared enough to offer a training program for teachers living in a foreign country. However...

▲2010 sex crime prevention training
aimed at hagwon native speaking instructors
The Chungcheongnam-do Asan educational support center (superintendent An Seong-jun) carried out the 2010 sex crime prevention training aimed at hagwon native speaking instructors on October 7 at 11am.

This sex crime prevention training was for 17 hagwon owners and the 27 native speaking instructors registered at their hagwons, and looked at the realities of continually occurring sex crimes against children. In addition, it also provided an introduction to our culture for foreign instructors.

Currently, as demand for English lessons from parents increases, the utilization of native speaking teachers grows in importance every year. As a result, there is anxiety over sex crimes against children by native speaking instructors, and these circumstances require training which can establish a proper sense of ethics in native speaking instructors.

The training curriculum proceeds from an introduction to our culture and present-day English education, to watching a sex crime prevention DVD, to requesting that native speaking instructors devote a great deal of effort to giving an upright English education to our children.

An official at the Asan educational support center said "Although there have been no occurrences [of sex crimes by foreign teachers] in our area, both parents and the local community are concerned about sex crimes against children and want to prevent them, and we hope this training [for foreign teachers] will pave the way for our community’s young students, [who are] our hope for the future, to receive a proper education and become fine, responsible people for our community."
A search for sex crime prevention courses for hagwon instructors in general in Asan turns up nothing but the one for foreign instructors, so either there are none for Korean instructors, or only the one for foreign instructors was considered news. I've asked Korean friends who work in hagwons if they've had to attend classes like this, but the answer has been no (to be fair, I haven't heard of courses taking place in Seoul for foreign instructors either). There is certainly a heightened concerned about sex crimes against children these days, and it's understandable that classes like this are being offered - but one would hope everyone would be made to take them. Of course, when "only two of 299 lawmakers participated in the annual mandatory sex crime-prevention education session held last week at the National Assembly," one wonders how seriously they're taken.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thousands of Korean women are the sex slaves of foreign English teachers

Or so claims the 2006 Breaknews article which first connected foreign English teachers with AIDS. The article was, of course, brought to us by Anti English Spectrum, and statistics in it have turned up in commentary upon pending parliamentary bills. Here's what it looked like in its 'Inside Story' newspaper edition - as the front page headline:


It's a monster in size and content, so commentary on it will come later in a separate post (as will a line by line translation, in case the original disappears). Many thanks to Ben Wagner and Coola for the translation.
--

Tracking [down] blacklisted foreign teachers suspected of having AIDS


[Exclusive Coverage] 80% of those frequenting AIDS testing center for foreigners are native speaker teachers

▲It is reported that 80 percent of foreigners who frequent HIV/AIDS counseling center for foreigners are foreign English teachers.


The harm beyond imagination caused by illegal, low quality foreign English teachers has been exposed thanks to five articles published in succession by this newspaper. There is worry that because of these teachers, not only will the academic performance of students suffer but, due to the excessively generous treatment of these teachers, the nation’s economy will also suffer losses.

More importantly, the suffering of the women who have become victims of sexual assault and rape by foreign teachers cannot possibly be described in full, according to victims’ testimonies, and it is said that some women have even committed suicide. Even now, the number of Korean women who exist somewhere as the sexual playthings or sex slaves of foreign teachers is estimated to reach into the thousands or tens of thousands.

A common point made by those who have started a movement to expel illegal, low-quality foreign teachers is that this situation is much too serious to just be regarded as “their own private matter.”

Those who have started this movement are especially concerned about the high possibility of the spreading of AIDS and other STDs through promiscuous sexual relations between foreign teachers and Korean women.

As a result of our coverage on this issue, we have found that an AIDS counseling and testing center in Seoul (hereafter “Center”) is being frequented by many foreigners looking to get tested for AIDS and other STDs.


Fear of AIDS from a “one-night stand” with a foreign teacher?

The Center explained that a good many of the foreigners seeking out the center were white-collar workers. At an AIDS counseling online bulletin board, there are often postings by Korean women worrying that they might get AIDS after having had sex with a foreigner, further exposing the seriousness of this issue.

As a result of this situation, we can derive the following conclusions: ▲Many of the foreigners sojourning in Korea make a living as English teachers; ▲Among those English teachers, it has been proven that many of them are enjoying sexual relations with not just one Korean women but with many; ▲And considering the fact that Korean women have personally reported their cases of victimization, we can see that these women are being defenselessly exposed to AIDS.


According to an official at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foreigners sojourning in Korea for 91 days or more with the goal of earning income must submit a certificate that proves that they are HIV-negative.

However, the category including those who “earning income” only applies to foreigners working in the entertainment field, such as entertainers and athletes, etc., and does not apply to English teachers.

Among foreigners living in Korea, an AIDS test is not mandatory for English teachers.

Only those who wish to get a free test receive one. If an HIV infection is confirmed, the Immigration Service’s recommendation is that they leave the country, according to the provisions of the authorities.

First of all, the fact that AIDS tests are recommended and not enforced is something that is difficult to understand. An official at the AIDS counseling center explained that this policy was put in place to protect the human rights of foreigners.

The Center currently promotes, through various English media outlets, including The Korea Times, that it is offering free AIDS testing for foreigners. After an applicant goes through counseling and books an appointment, he or she goes to the Yongsan-gu Health Center within 3-4 days to get an AIDS test. Of course, it is guaranteed that their anonymity will be protected.


“Mandatory tests violate human rights” vs. “The need to block citizens’ exposure to danger at its root”

The counseling bulletin board shows complaints by many Korean women regarding anxieties about AIDS after having sex with a [foreign] teacher

An official at the Center revealed that according to the results of surveys filled out by foreigners who requested tests, the majority of reasons for wanting an AIDS test consisted of the following: sex with others (one-night stand); a new partner; regular check-ups by homosexuals; pregnancy or drugs.

The official explained, “We must consider the fact that, compared with Koreans, foreigners do not possess such guarded views toward AIDS tests, and their [general] perceptions are more open than those of Koreans, so many ordinary people tend to seek out these tests.”

The official continued explaining that, “We carry out 2-3 tests per day on average, and the probability is that an HIV-positive result would come back an average once or twice a year,” adding that, “Of the patients who test positive, about half are gay.”

According to the Center official, and contrary to the reporter’s expectations, of the foreigners who receive [AIDS] tests, most are not (unskilled) foreign manual labor workers who may have unstable sexual and economic lives but are white-collar workers from English-speaking countries.

The Center explains that this is the reason why the Center promotes its [free AIDS] testing through media outlets that are frequently accessed by [foreign] white-collar workers.

In particular, when we look at the occupational distribution of those requesting tests, 80 percent are English teachers, 10 percent are other white-collar workers, and the remaining 10 percent consists of students and other Asian foreigners from countries such as India, Vietnam and China.

The Center official said, “Since those working as English teachers are statistically numerous among foreign residents in Korea, it is completely natural that English teachers account for 80 percent of those requesting tests.”

The Center also showed how much effort it puts into protecting the human rights of foreigners who have contracted AIDS. The Center official explains, “In the past, if a foreigner tested positive for AIDS, that person did not even have time to collect his or her belongings before being forced to immediately leave the country. However, things are a little bit different now.”

Another official at the Center said, “AIDS is not an easily transmitted disease, and these days, if the disease is discovered early and is treated continuously, a patient can even fulfill their full life expectancy.” The official also added, “And if a person receives a test result that is HIV-positive, that person would actually want to go back to their own country and receive treatment.”

However, some people are expressing that they cannot understand the government’s lenient approach toward foreigners, as Korea too is not in a safe situation when it comes to AIDS.

Above all, they claim that despite the fact that promiscuous sexual relations between foreign teachers and Korean women have been going on for many years now, and serious problems are arising in our society as a result, to exclude foreign teachers from submitting HIV-negative confirmation reports is nothing but unexcused negligence toward the spread of AIDS and other STDs.

Currently, the total reported number of HIV patients in Korea is said to be approximately 4,000. There was once a time when AIDS was regarded as an irrelevant issue to Korea. However, now with a more open sexual culture, and with more Koreans traveling to and from overseas, including Korean overseas tourists, the number of AIDS patients is on the rise.

In this regard, a former English hagwon teacher Mr. H expressed his anger over the issue saying, “When many foreign teachers are in Korea and are having promiscuous sex with Korean women and creating problems in society, to just leave this matter to voluntary self-regulation under the pretense that AIDS does not spread easily would be the same thing as letting a snake loose onto a patch of grass and then lying down on that same grass.”

He added, “Perverted, low-quality foreign teachers regard Korean women as mere sexual playthings, and such foreign teachers usually engage in promiscuous sexual activities with numerous women. They even approach married women to fulfill their own sexual needs.” He expressed concern over the government’s application of laws and systems that ignore the reality of things, which could end up becoming one of the major causes behind the spread of AIDS in Korea.

The reason why 'Inside Story' decided to report on this issue was because we received information about an AIDS Counseling Center online bulletin board where many Korean women were continuously submitting complaints about their anxieties regarding AIDS infections after having sex with a foreigner.

And while researching on another Internet cafe website, this reporter was also able to find a comment put up by a homosexual Korean man who was worried about AIDS after having sex with foreign teachers. In fact, it was reported that last July, one native speaker teacher in Daegu was found to have contracted AIDS.

▲ Experts say that “Because of human rights issues, converting voluntary AIDS tests into mandatory tests for foreign teachers will not be easy.” This photo has no connection to this story.


One government official that met with this reporter not long ago discussed another issue regarding the enactment of the Special Act on Prostitution, and how it brought on a new serious problem in the form of increased overseas sex trade. He cautiously pointed out that “Korea is receiving much international criticism due to the extraordinary number of women embarking on overseas sex trade expeditions. It would be ideal to bring these women back to Korea. However, the process is complicated, and we must also consider the possibility of a spread of STDs if we were to allow a great influx of these women back into Korea.”

This comment is quite significant in that it supports the view that [Korean] women who have engaged in sex with foreigners are more likely to be infected with AIDS or STDs.


Violation of human rights vs. overall health [of society]

An official at the Korea Federation for HIV/AIDS Prevention (KFHAP) commented on this particular issue. “If we were to change voluntary AIDS testing into mandatory testing only for foreign teachers, from a human rights perspective that would constitute as discrimination against these people (foreign teachers) and would go against [the principle of] equality. However, from an overall health of society perspective, it is a fact that, because many Korean women associate with and date foreign teachers, exposure to danger is indeed that much higher.”

He added, “Even though native speaker teachers may account for a high percentage among foreigners, to apply mandatory AIDS testing instead of voluntary testing to only these people would be discrimination based on professional grounds and would be considered an excessive/unjustifiable measure. But on the other hand, there are opinions saying that there is a need for testing when we consider that the nature of their jobs involves a lot of interpersonal relations.”

Results of survey on foreigners seeking AIDS tests show motivations for getting tested: A new partner/change in partners; Korean men in homosexual relationships with foreigners [getting checkups]

The official [at the KFHAP] cautiously expressed the following. “This is an issue that our Federation is also concerned about. However, this is something that must be very carefully/seriously discussed while considering both sides of the issue (human rights violations vs. the realities of [society’s] overall health).

Among foreigners who are staying in Korea for 91 days or more, the government currently requires only those working in the entertainment business to submit certificates confirming their HIV/AIDS-negative status. However, two years ago, the Ministry of Employment and Labor also started to enforce a law that requires foreign workers who are industrial trainees and foreigners who have entered Korea under the Employment Permission System to mandatorily take AIDS tests.


In relation to this, the official at the KFHAP added, “The Ministry of Employment and Labor is currently being criticized for enforcing AIDS tests on foreign workers who are industrial trainees, etc.” “Critics say that the actual mandatory testing itself is not a big problem. What is a problem is that these people are receiving unfavorable treatment as a result of those tests.”

He also expressed his frustrations with reality. “We are already enforcing mandatory testing on foreigners who work in these two groups: those in entertainment and manual labor workers. Critics are saying that it is too heavy-handed to include native speaker teachers in those groups. Also, foreign diplomacy issues need to be considered, so this is an issue that will not be resolved easily.”
__________________________________

“Prioritizing the Protection of Foreigners’ Human Rights Over the Protection of Our Own Citizens”
The Risk of AIDS Infections Must be Reduced by Strengthening E-2 Visa Rules

'Inside Story' has done five reports regarding the “Realities of Illegal, Low-quality Native Speaker Teachers.” We met with Mr. K who has given us much help in our coverage of these stories. Here we listen to Mr. K talk about the reality of Korean women being defenselessly exposed to AIDS through sexual relations with foreigners, and also about preventative measures regarding foreigners and AIDS.

▲It is said that 80% of the foreigners who have requested tests from the foreigners’ AIDS counseling center for were English teachers. What do you think of this?

- E-2 Visa requirements must be strengthened. If many foreigners are included in that group of workers, then physical, disease check reports (AIDS) should be included in the required documents for E-2 visas, as many of them [foreigners] [already] go through this process. Currently, however, physical checkups and health tests that allow us to check for AIDS or syphilis are not included in the required documents [for foreign English teachers].

▲They say it is even more dangerous because there are many cases where hagwon teachers do not submit health check reports.

- When hiring native speaker assistant English teachers, Korea’s Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development does require the submission of a criminal record check report and a health check report issued by a medical institute. However, it is common for hagwons to omit this process as long as the [foreign] hagwon teacher has an E-2 visa.

▲The AIDS counseling Center for foreigners says that continuing to maintain the current policy of voluntary AIDS testing is the right thing to do in terms of protecting the human rights of foreigners. What do you think of this?

- They are patients, and therefore their human rights must be protected. In that case, however, our own people who are exposed to AIDS, our own daughters who might be included among them: Don’t they have human rights? I cannot help but view this as a reckless human rights claim. It is a fact that we are now exposed to more open sexual cultures and more dangerous situations, and [Korean] women who have met with foreigners are crying out over their anxieties regarding AIDS. It is inevitable that the levels of danger will increase when we consider the teachers who have entered on tourist visas, or illegally sojourning foreigner teachers that related authorities are not even capable of keeping track of.

▲How would you respond to counterarguments that claim that the perspective you have expressed is exclusivist/xenophobic toward foreign English teachers?

- This is not an exclusivist/xenophobic view; this is a matter of the survival of Korean women. They [foreigners] have entered Korea and are enjoying personal rights, but if Korean women are being exposed to the threat of AIDS, isn’t it right for the government to at least put some effort into blocking the source of the problem through [enhancing] the E-2 visa requirements?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Seoul-inspired Simpsons opening?

I caught the latest Simpsons episode, and it has a rather interesting opening, which was created by street artist Banksy (also here):



I love the final image - the producers having creative control must annoy the hell out 20th Century Fox sometimes. I couldn't help but remember the last time the Simpsons referred to Asian sweatshops (an obvious reference to the show being animated in Korea), but figured the panda seen in this opening pointed to China. According to this article, however, China may not have been the inspiration:
Banksy is said to have been inspired by reports that Simpsons characters are animated in Seoul, South Korea.
Despite the presence of Gangnam, Seoul isn't that bad - perhaps he read one of these textbooks (or one like this).

Sources for English articles about "6 month part-timers"

ATEK has released a statement about the reports of teachers breaking their contracts.

I was also asked about which Korean language articles influenced which English language articles, so I thought I'd post that reply.

The source of the story was a Yonhap article published at noon on September 29 which used incorrect statistics titled "Half of native speaking English teachers are '6 month part-time workers,'" which stated that
The percentage of native speaking English teachers not fulfilling their contract term (one year) and breaking their contract after six months steeply increased every year, from 46% in 2008, to 57.6% in 2009, to 66.1% in 2010 (to the end of July) [... T]he average rate of breaking a contract halfway through (after 6 months) over the last three years is 56.4% (950 people).
It was this article (above) that the Hankyoreh's English site used as a source for its news brief (Sept. 30, 12pm) saying that 66% of native teachers left after six months this year up to July:
"The report submitted by the MEST to the ruling Grand National Party lawmakers showed that as of July 2010, 66.1 percent of native English teachers ended their contract in six months, without completing their one-year contract period. The number of teachers leaving their job halfway through a contract has increased rapidly from 46 percent in 2008 and 57.6 percent in 2009. The average rate over last three years is 56.4 percent, which means one of two native teachers left school before the contract’s expiration."
Four hours after its first article, Yonhap posted an article with the new title "Severe regional disparity in procurement of native speaking English teachers (composite)," which sported some changes to the information:
950 native speaking teachers quit halfway through their contract over the last three years (4.7% of the total) and among those [who quit], the percentage who quit after six months steeply increased every year, from 46% in 2008, to 57.6% in 2009, to 66.1% in 2010 (to the end of July).[Emphasis added.]
The "4.7% of the total" comes from average percentage of those who quit over the past three years (5.53% in 2008, 5.57% in 2009, and 2.92% so far this year). This new paragraph makes clear that only 4.7% on average quit early, and of those 46% in 2008, 57.6% in 2009, and 66.1% in 2010 (to the end of July) quit at the 6 month mark.

Then, four hours after that article, Yonhap posted another amended article with the title "Severe regional disparity in procurement of native speaking English teachers (composite 2)," which changed the percentages of those who quit at or after 6 months:
950 native speaking teachers failed to fulfill their one year contract over the last three years (4.7% of the total) and among those who quit, the percentage who quit after six months totaled 34% in 2008, to 42.4% in 2009, and 34% in 2010 (to the end of July).
Suddenly the figures change completely, and since the hard numbers are not available, it's impossible to know why. The Korea Herald (Sept. 30, 6pm) used the final article as its source, including the term "part-time job," which all three versions of the Yonhap articles contained, despite the latter two containing statistics which disproved this:
"Some 950 teachers, or 4.7 percent, cancelled their employment contract in mid-semester within the first year and 34 percent among them (as of this July) quit during their first six months, according to the survey. About 28.3 percent of them resigned upon being admitted to a school or getting their desired job, indicating that English teaching is largely considered among native speakers as an easily accessible part-time job."
For some reason, other articles used the percentages of teachers who quit at the six month mark from the final Yonhap article, but did not include the fact that only an average of 4.7% had quit overall over the last two and a half years. Yonhap English (Sept. 29, 10pm) stated that
The report submitted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to the parliament showed 42.4 percent of native instructors ended their contract after six months last year, up from 34 percent in 2008. The rate again fell to 34 percent as of the end of July of this year.
The Joongang Daily's article (October 1) also omitted the 4.7% figure:
The report submitted to the National Assembly by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology showed 42.4 percent of native instructors last year ended their contract after six months, up from 34 percent in 2008. The rate again fell to 34 percent as of the end of July of this year.
Why that figure is missing from the latter two articles I have no idea. I can understand how the translators at the Hankyoreh missed the later two Yonhap articles with the corrections and used the stats from the first, but find it harder to figure out how the final Yonhap article could be used as a source and the 4.7% figure could be omitted.