The government has introduced an up-to-date drug testing kit as part of moves to strengthen drug monitoring of foreign English teachers at schools and private institutes.One wonders if "test-savvy" means "knows to stop smoking a few weeks before the test." Also, the fact that the "TBPE test, based on urine, cannot effectively detect marijuana use" is why there was a separate marijuana test. As far as I can tell, the new tests would also involve urine testing (judging by various tests available in the US), though I suppose the higher cost of other testing methods might not be an issue since the government wouldn't be paying for the test.
The Ministry of Justice said Monday that it revised regulations governing drug testing of foreign English teachers, which went into effect from Feb. 1. [...]
It is said that the TBPE test, employed in December 2007, has fallen short of discerning test-savvy drug users. [...]
Those who test positive will face police investigation and, if confirmed, will be deported and banned from landing on Korean soil for at least the next five years, according to immigration officials.
The employment of the new testing kit was the result from repeated calls from narcotic officers and experts who claim that the TBPE test is not capable of detecting the use of all kinds of sought-after drugs either at home or abroad.
“The new kit proved to correctly detect a wider range of drugs, including marijuana,” said Yoo Byung-gil, deputy director of visa and resident division at the Korea Immigration Service. In fact, TBPE test, based on urine, cannot effectively detect marijuana use, he said.
It also reacts to caffeine and some elements of cold medicine, allowing some test-savvy drug users to capitalize on the shortcomings to avoid being caught, the official said. The new test will be conducted at private and public hospitals proven to be capable of conducting drug tests by the immigration office, starting April 1. [...]
“So far, all medical clinics, including ill-prepared ones, have conducted the test, denting the credibility of the test results,” the official said. “But the new system will significantly improve credibility.”
Anti English Spectrum also reported on this, and were nice enough to provide the name of the actual government announcement. A Google search for "법무부고시 제2011 - 23호" turns up this page at the Korean Hospital Association, as well as this page at the Korea Law website, which begins:
Immigration Control Act Enforcement Regulation Article 76, Clause 2 Related Attachment 5-2, Announcement of drug testing provision and testing method for those eligible for conversation instruction (E-2), who should submit an employment physical examination when applying for alien registration, and of the requirement that the medical institution be designated by the Justice Minister.Oddly enough, at that site the above introduction is followed by this note: "[Enforcement [begins] 2011.02.01] [Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Announcement 2011-23, enacted 2011.01.27]" The KHA site does not have an reference to this originating with MEST, but it would be quite interesting if it did, considering the disagreements the MoJ and Education offices have had in the past over HIV testing of foreign teachers.
This was also reported by Maeil Gyeongje, Newsis, YTN and the Donga Ilbo, which all used the title "Drug Testing of Native Speaking Teachers in Korea Strengthened." According to an immigration official quoted in the Donga Ilbo article, "Incidents of some native speaking instructors taking drugs during lectures have been never ending and this is to block this from happening in advance." While I'm sure there are a few idiots out there, I find it hard to believe, considering the prices illegal drugs fetch in Korea, that people would take them in order to get high at work. Is that really likely? Much as AES (and immigration) like to conflate 'foreign teachers went to a free HIV testing clinic' with 'foreign teachers have AIDS,' police (and immigration) like to conflate 'used drugs in their free time' with 'were high at work.' One of the more amusing examples of this was a Yonhap article from 2009 which tried to insinuate teachers who took ecstasy on the weekend might have still been high on Monday by following the word 'weekend' with '(Saturday, Sunday)' in order to suggest that they might have gone out on Sunday night (a prime clubbing night, of course - and as if Yonhap's readers don't realize what nights people go out on the weekend).
At any rate, much as the low crime rate of foreign teachers cannot be trusted due to "undisclosed crimes" "test-savvy" foreign teachers and ill-prepared medical centers are "denting the credibility of the test results," requiring "strengthen[ed] drug monitoring of foreign English teachers."