Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Meth connected to foreign teachers again

The Maeil Gyeongje published this article today:
American English instructor arrested for Philipon

The International Crime Division of the Incheon Police announced on the 15th that 31 year-old American English instructor Mr. Kim was booked without detention for taking philopon at a motel he was staying at (in contravention of the Drug Control Law), and that police were in pursuit of 41 year-old Mr. Park, who took drugs with Mr. Kim.

According to police, Mr. Kim, a second generation Korean American, allegedly took methamphetamine (philopon) with Mr. Park at a motel in Incheon at 10:30pm on March 14.

The police investigation found that they diluted 0.05 grams of methamphetamine in water and injected it into a vein in their forearms.

Police revealed that, "It is estimated that there are a good many foreign instructors working in Korea who have not had their qualifications verified." "We are expanding an investigation against them for drugs and various crimes."
As usual, we're told nothing about Mr. Kim other than that he's Korean American and an English instructor. Is he working as a native speaking instructor? They don't say. If I had to guess, I'd say the odds are he's not E-2, but as we all know, when a non E-2 foreign English instructor (whether hired an as a native speaking instructor or Korean instructor) is arrested for drugs, he or she is magically granted membership in the 'native speaking instructor' club. This seems to be another attempt to link foreign instructors with a drug stronger than marijuana, coming on the heels of presenting a Nigerian in Korea who worked in a factory and taught English at some point and who was meant to receive a shipment of meth as a "drug smuggling former English teacher." He too was admitted to the 'native speaking instructor' club, which I don't think had any meth smugglers prior to that point.

As for "It is estimated that there are a good many foreign instructors working in Korea who have not had their qualifications verified", this is absolutely correct. The problem is, those people are not E-2 visa holders, but cases like this will be used as evidence that E-2 visa requirements need to be strengthened (again!). Not that anyone reporting on this, or the police making announcements about this, have any understanding, or desire to understand, the differences between visas, apparently.

At any rate, we went over two weeks without a negative foreign teacher story. It was eerily quiet...

3 comments:

B_Wagner said...

"Police revealed that, 'It is estimated that there are a good many foreign instructors (외국인 강사) working in Korea who have not had their qualifications verified. We are expanding an investigation against them for drugs and various crimes.'"

The fluid status of non-citizen Koreans or "overseas Koreans" (as they are often referred to in various legislation, such as the Overseas Korean Act, which grants the F-4 visa status) is fascinating.

When it comes to "verification measures" for teachers such as AIDS & drug tests (in my opinion, illegitimate) and criminal background checks & academic credential checks (in my opinion, legitimate), advocates who want these tests in place for non-Koreans have gone out of their way to argue that non-citizen Koreans should be exempt by emphasizing these individuals' ethnic status as reasonable grounds for exemption.

Anti-English Spectrum spokesman 이은웅, for instance, when interviewed by the Seoul Shinmun ("Is Testing Foreign Instructor ('외국인 강사') for AIDS Discriminatory?") emphasized the difference between non-citizen Korean English instructors and non-citizen non-Korean English instructors by referring to the former as "한국인(교포) 영어강사" (Korean (gyopo) English instructors), and more pointedly as "대한민국의 동포들" (compatriots of the Republic of Korea), while referring to the later as "외국인 강사" (foreign instructors). In the same article Lee argues that requiring the same type of verification procedures of non-citizen Koreans would be unreasonable because it would mean treating "compatriots of the Republic of Korea like foreigners". Yet when non-citizen Koreans are arrested or accused of improper behavior this is exactly how they are treated: "like foreigners". The "compatriot" status evaporates and, as the quote from the police officer in the article indicates, non-citizen Koreans are transformed into "외국인 강사" (foreign instructors). Moreover, their arrests are held up as evidence to strengthen measures against foreign instructors.

I find it fascinating how often this strikingly conspicuous pattern has repeated itself and even more fascinating that it has gone unexamined for so long.

wetcasements said...

"It is estimated that there are a good many foreign instructors working in Korea who have not had their qualifications verified"

Gotta love the strategic use of passive voice to slander a group as a whole.

brent said...

There's not a whole lot more they can do about the E-2 holders. They already have looked foolish for calling for laws and checks that have already been implemented.

Rep: We need criminal checks and AIDS tests and drug tests on these teachers.

Assistant: We already have these in place.

Rep: Oh, damn. Get me those robots!