MBC reported on the story:
They were kind enough to depict what happened:
Apparently the taxi driver was just giving her a friendly tap on the shoulder, when suddenly -
It then depicts his injuries:
Now, while his injuries seemed clear enough, I was curious about what exactly happened between the taxi driver and the female foreign teacher which caused the male foreign teacher to intervene - the news reports all skipped quickly over that part of the story. At the bottom of the post at the Marmot's Hole are two comments (starting here) which tell a different story:
I live in Gwangju and know all the parties involved with the exception of the taxi driver. I would like to clarify a few things here.Another commenter adds that
Does it not seem strange that Mr.M would suddenly attack an innocent taxi driver and beat him around for no reason? The “squabble” referred to in the article was indeed assault. After extremely overcharging the “female” they had a verbal argument. She paid the fare and left. But not to lose the argument, Kim followed her into the dorm (breaking the door in the process) and began to manhandle her. M saw this and jumped in to protect his friend and co-worker.[...]
M was more than willing to pay the blood money and even met with a lawyer and Kim. However, Kim refused to accept anything less than 60 million won for his exaggerated injuries. He was not actually hurt as bad as he claimed and actually started driving again during the days while staying at the hospital. [...] If there had been any kind of fact checking done you would see that Kim’s knee was not broken. But yes, his tooth was.
Unwilling to pay 60 million won to Kim, the only other option for M was court, a large fine and jail time, after which he would be deported because of his criminal status while on an E2 visa.
Again, what would you do? Jail, compensation, and deportation or just cut and run?
“Female” was also told that she would not be allowed to file a lawsuit because poor Kim had been beat up already. Kim was not charged with anything nor was he forced to compensate for the broken dormitory door.
the taxi driver followed the woman into the dormitory building & elevator, forcing his way through a security door that generally requires a fingerprint to gain entry. One would think that this point alone would place the taxi driver in a negative light – it seems to be being overlooked in the poor quality and superficial reporting on this issue, however, and was certainly pointedly ignored in the police investigation.That's certainly a different story than what was reported in the media. That reporting, however, is not over, as the following article by Gwangju Dream, published on April 26, reveals (the story was also reported by NoCut News [Update: And Newsis, Yonhap, and Newsis again]):
Belated investigation to blame for escape of native speaking instructor who assaulted taxi driver.I'd be curious to see what the National Human Rights Commission might say. Though I'm sure any recommendation they might make - if they took Mr. Kim's side - would be in regards to dealing with foreigners in general, it would be interesting if they sided against the teacher, as they've proven unwilling to take a stand for non-Korean foreign teachers (despite assurances they would), (though complaints by ethnic Korean foreign teachers have gotten results).
"The prosecution should summon the instructor," denunciation by citizen's group at press conference.
▲On the 25 "Gwangju & Jeollanam-do People for Peace and Reunification" held a press conference in front of the Gwangju District Prosecutor's Office calling for responsibility to be taken for the incident in which an instructor at Jeonnam University's foreign language hagwon assaulted and injured a taxi driver and fled the country.
"The prosecution should summon the American instructor who fled the country and apologize to the victim's family! Jeonnam University, who is morally responsible, should take suitable action to prevent this from reoccuring!"
On the 25th the Gwangju Christian Council and the "Gwangju & Jeollanam-do People for Peace and Reunification" held a press conference in front of the Gwangju District Prosecutor's Office and criticized the Prosecutor's Office and Jeonnam University for the "Jeonnam University American instructor's taxi driver assault and flight incident." They criticized the prosecution for their belated action saying, "The flight of the American Jeonnam University instructor after assaulting a taxi driver is due to an investigation which took place after it was too late, which is typical of the prosecution." "Immediately after the incident, the victim and his family members requested that the instructor be arrested during the investigation and an exit ban be placed on him, but the prosecution completely ignored this request." Also, "Generally, if someone inflicts injuries that take 4-6 weeks to recover from, detention during the investigation is customary, though the American instructor who inflicted eight and two weeks of injuries was not arrested, fled to America and is not returning." "When such a degree of injury was inflicted, and an agreement had not been reached with the victim, it's hard to understand how the victim's request for detention and an exit ban were refused."
They insisted that "If the request for detention had been accepted, then at least such an escape, and avoidance of the law's judgement, would have been avoided." "The prosecution should apologize to the victim's family for the flight of the suspect due to their irresponsible investigation and immediately summon the American instructor who escaped."
They are also pressing Jeonnam University take responsibility and formally apologize.
They criticized it, saying, "An instructor affiliated with Jeonnam University carried out a murderous assault on campus but the university is not apologizing and of course is not taking suitable measures." "Worse, the American native-speaking female teacher who set off the assault because she didn't pay her taxi fare is, even now, brazenly continuing to lecture."
The victim's family said, "This is something that couldn't occur in a country governed by laws." "The human rights of a single taxi driver are also the human rights of the Republic of Korea. We request they quickly, cooperatively investigate and summon and punish the attacker so that such a thing never happens again."
On February 20 at 1:30 am, Mr. Kim, the taxi driver, drove a 23 year-old American woman working as native-speaking instructor at Jeonnam University from Gwangju's Geumnam-ro to Jeonnam University. However, the female instructor thought the taxi fare was higher than usual and didn't pay it. As Mr. Kim and the female instructor argued over the late night surcharge, another, male American instructor assaulted him. Mr. Kim had a front tooth broken and his knee fractured, which respectively took 8 weeks of dental work and 2 weeks to heal completely.
Afterward, Mr. Kim reported the male American instructor to the police but the American instructor assailant fled the country during the investigation, and so Mr. Kim's family is appealing against this injustice by doing such things as submitting complaints to the National Human Rights Commission.
As for the protest, this is certainly first time I've seen a banner referring to a foreign teacher.
One wonders why the "Gwangju & Jeollanam-do People for Peace and Reunification" would get involved with an incident involving a foreign teacher. The answer? They don't seem to be concerned with a "foreign" teacher, but a teacher(s) of a specific nationality. Perhaps the following list will help illustrate this:
Well now... ten references to "American instructor." Pretty much any given article about a foreign teacher will mention the teacher's nationality once. Maybe twice. But ten times? And mostly in quotes given by the "Gwangju & Jeollanam-do People for Peace and Reunification"? I think I can see how they got involved:
"There's a case involving a taxi driver assaulted by a foreign teacher."
"The assailant is American."
"I'll call the banner printing company right now."
I'll also assume that, besides the interest in Americans who have committed a "murderous assault" and are "brazenly" continuing to teach after victimizing a citizen of 남조선, there may be a grudge match with the prosecutors and perhaps Jeonnam University involved here as well.
It's also interesting that they're calling for the teacher to be summoned back to Korea (though not outright calling for extradition). After the "Quincy Black" incident, members of Anti English Spectrum made it sound like they thought he should be brought back to Korea to face justice (even though the police seemed to have no interest in this). For those nationalists wanting the Korean state to exercise as much sovereignty as possible over foreigners (especially westerners, and especially Americans - which the whole battle over revising SOFA was about), the prospect of extradition is quite attractive, even if I haven't seen it voiced explicitly.