Friday, June 29, 2012

Foreign English teachers get high and mock immigration

Or something like that.

I missed this earlier article by Financial News, which was published on June 14:
Foreign hagwon instructors and others caught for buying and taking new kinds of drugs.

Police have arrested foreign hagwon instructors and others for selling or buying and the taking new kinds of drug called 'spice (JWH-018).'

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's Narcotics Division revealed on the 14th that they had booked without detention 12 people including a Mr. Lee (20), as well as foreign students and foreign hagwon instructors for violating the drug control law.

According to police, last September Mr. Lee deposited $300 in the bank account of an overseas online shopping mall for international delivery of 33 grams of spice, and was charged for producing 500 grams of spice in smokable form by mixing [the powder] with dried green tea leaves.

He is also charged with selling it to foreign students and foreigners in places like Gangnam and Hongdae club areas.

Police found that Lee sold the spice, which is a powdered form of synthetic marijuana which is much stronger than THC, the main ingredient in marijuana, for 50,000 won per gram.

A police official said, "Most of the suspects who were arrested were foreign students in their early 20s with experience living abroad or were foreigners who grew up in a culture which is lenient towards drugs and who have little sense of guilt [regarding drug use].

Meanwhile, police seized 381 grams of spice (with a market value of 19.05 million won).
How many foreign instructors were arrested? Who knows. Perhaps the title "Korean sells drugs to foreign instructors and foreign students" would have been more 'factual,' but obviously it wasn't going to get clicks (had Mr. Lee been a foreigner, they would have mentioned it). I'm also not sure if the 유학생 are supposed to be foreign students studying in Korea or Koreans who have studied overseas. Any ideas?

In other news, NoCut News published an article yesterday titled "American conversation instructor in her 20s mocks Korean immigration policy." Almost as good as the title is the file photo of a male teacher which has a caption which ends with "This photo is not related to the article." No, really? Did they not have any photos of female foreign teachers taken from behind, or is there perhaps a reason all of them might have been taken from the front?

I digress. The gist of the story is that an American woman teaching English at a hagwon apparently quit without notice and switched to a D-10 employment visa and started working at a public school, thus undermining Korean sovereignty. Or at least, that's what was reported based on interviews (one imagines) with everyone but the woman involved. Not that anyone is surprised by that. The Marmot saved me the trouble of translating/summarizing the article, so go see his post on the article here. Also worth reading is this comment by Brendan Carr, as well as this story of quitting a hagwon early.

As Robert wrote:
In NoCut’s words, "This English teacher, who thus caused the hagwon great losses and left her workplace without notice, is teaching children after getting hired as a teacher at an elementary school in the province by changing her visa as she likes, as if mocking Korea’s poor foreigner immigration policy."
The No Cut News article also has comments from an Incheon Immigration Office official, who says
"However, we learned too late that there was a problem with S, and learned that the visa change issuing regulations also have weaknesses." "We asked our superiors to supplement this, and the regulations will be strengthened to prevent such problems in the future."
One wonders what such regulation strengthening will mean (if any such changes are actually made, that is). Though surely such a blow to Korean sovereignty will not go unanswered, right? The title of the article alone makes it clear the NoCut News article has an agenda which could be construed as being aimed in that direction. Not that this would be the first such article by NoCut News about foreign teachers or with an agenda regarding them, as a selection of some of their headlines might reveal:

"Elementary and middle school native speaking assistant teachers 'half-heartedly' prepare classes and only chat during class"
"Native speaking teachers turned out to be murderers, gangsters, rapists and kidnappers in the US" (Mentioned here.)
"Again, native speaking instructor drug crime... including a hip hop singer and university professor"
"A stoned native speaking instructor and my child...?!"
"Drug dealing by English kindergarten native speaking teacher, international lawyer as well"
"'Troublemaker' native speaking teachers being governed through visa"
["Recently native speaking teachers have been committing various crimes such as molestation or drug use again and again"]
"In Jeju as well, case after case of foreign teachers smuggling pot"
'Delinquent foreign instructors, "Freeze!"' (about AES)
"Ever-increasing native speaking teacher crimes ... [better] verification urgent"
"There needs to be a hearing on Native speaking instructors"
["deviant and criminal behavior by native speaking teachers has been occurring endlessly"]

Also on (or around) the topic of foreign teachers, Three Wise Monkeys has an article about teaching in a public school, as well as an article about the MBC scandal written by a Korean high school student who explores the attitudes of her classmates towards interracial romance.


José María said...

I guess, ay least, some Immigration officials have been reprimanded.
In other matter, was she Caucasian or Asian? That could explain a lot.

James said...

It's my understanding that to transfer a visa you need a letter from the former employer "releasing" you (just like one farmer selling a pig to another you know, totally fair and square and humane).

So despite all the typical anti-foreigner racist bullshit, I'm surprised that someone on an E-2 actually managed to switch to a public school. More power to her, of course. This is the 21st century, not the 18th. Workers have rights.

Ye Seul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ye Seul said...

Hi, Matt:) I'm Ye Seul Yoon, a blog editor from the Canda Embassy. Hope you remember me:)
In my opinion, 유학생 means Korean students who've studied abroad cause the Korean article reads '~유학생이거나 외국인. `이거나' is equivalent of 'or' in English, so the reporter might intend to indicate the latter.

Ah! When are you planning to post the interview with the Embassador?
A recored file isn't enough to deliver the contents to the Embassy blog reader, so I want to refer to your posting. :) Hope to find it soon hehe.

matt said...

Hi Ye Seul. Thanks for the comment. I suppose, as in this article, a foreign student studying in Korea would be a 외국인 유학생. At any rate, the article is up now. Look forward to seeing yours!

José María,
I'm not sure what her ethnicity was.

I've heard that the release letter is no longer needed, but I really don't know. Be worth confirming that one way or the other.