Monday, November 16, 2009

Puff Piece about Anti-English Spectrum

[Update: Korea Beat's translation is here.] 

NoCut News has a puff piece about Anti-English Spectrum published on November 10 and written by CBS Busan reporter Kim Hye-gyeong, which has a really cute title: 
Delinquent foreign instructors, "Freeze!" 

Citizens for Upstanding English Education... 100 foreigners caught for drugs, assault, being unqualified 

Last May in Busan, K (30) a Canadian who taught English at a hagwon who had lots of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia at his home and habitually took drugs was arrested by police. Mr. K was stoned while teaching his lessons, and had a record of violence in Canada where he was stripped of his teaching qualifications. 
Last August in Seoul, G (29), an American who made money from gambling, was among 15 people arrested by police for gambling for years. Among the arrested was someone who habitually did drugs and another who taught at a well-known hagwon on a tourist visa.

It is foreign teachers like these who cause problems like drugs, gambling, violence, and being unqualified that the well known internet cafe ‘Citizens for Upstanding English Education’ relentlessly pursue to bring their crimes to light. 

3 years ago, the crimes of unqualified foreign teachers shocked these citizens who spontaneously formed this group, and to this point they have tracked and exposed 100 foreigners who have done drugs, committed assault, or entered the country without a visa, which, after the related authorities have been notified, has resulted in their deportation. 

If members discover problem foreign instructors, they use their cafe pseudonym to leave a tip for the manager or send him a note, who then tracks the teachers with others for two to three months on average. The cafe’s method involves relentlessly pursuing them and finally when evidence is secured and the location of the crimes confirmed the police are called. 

The people who provide tips come from all walks of life and include parents of children who attend English hagwons, Korean English instructors (co-workers), and employees at bars and restaurants frequented by foreigners. 

Cafe manager Lee Eun-ung (39) says "When people suffer abuses such as violence from foreigners, if they directly contact the police, then their identities become exposed and they have to be subjected to investigation, and therefore because of that sense of burden, our members receive counseling through our cafe and they also report such abuse cases (of being victimized)." "Recently, innocent/good foreigners, who are also being harmed because of some other troublesome foreigners, are submitting reports to our cafe immediately whenever they see a troublesome foreigner, as a part of their efforts for self-purification."

The cafe played a large part in the arrest on November 6 of many people who took new drugs with the street names 'skunk' and 'Spice', at clubs in Itaewon and Hongdae. 

Members discovered foreign sites openly circulating new drugs last February, and persistently asked related agencies to have them designated as illegal drugs with success. 

The cafe mainly monitors those problem foreign instructors in the capital area of Seoul and Gyeonggi-do but is expanding its area of operations. 

In places where foreign language classes have a lot of demand teachers are treated in a similar manner as in Seoul but citizens’ observation activities and police crackdowns are not as strong against the activities of unqualified foreign teachers that are surfacing in Busan and Gyeongsangnam-do. 

In fact, the foreign teacher community in Busan and Gyeongsangnam-do can work relatively freely without work visas at well-known hagwons and can stay in Korea for long periods on tourist visas.

Though until last year the cafe had almost no tips about cases of inferior foreign teachers in Busan and Gyeongsangnam-do, this year the total number of tips jumped 20-30% and five foreigners were expelled because of tips the cafe received. 

In Busan both the Office of Education and the police’s sustained crackdown and the citizens' fervent monitoring activities are pointing out inferior English instructors’ teaching activities, activities outside classes, private lessons, drug-taking and gambling.
Note: It's nice to see a little more information about their stalking activities, though it's troubling (if unsurprising) to see Kim Hye-gyeong and CBS cheering them on. As for Lee's comments about foreigners contacting him as part of their 'self-purification' (similar perhaps to the 'self-criticism' sessions north of the DMZ?), I have to wonder how many foreign teachers would approach a group like AES, which isn't known (in English) as anything other than a xenophobic group of vigilantes, if they're known at all. His comments in other articles about English teachers contacting him for help sound equally as 'truthy'. 

Quite interesting is Lee's comment attempting to legitimize their vigilante function by proposing himself and his posse as a solution to the pressures felt by those who would go to the police. Why bother with the police when it comes to foreign English teachers (whose undisclosed crimes in Busan are rising, don't you know) when a bunch of vigilantes can simply assume their powers instead?



i have to purify myself... of my vile foreignness... i must purge the lustful feelings for korean women in my evil baegin blood... i must sign on to naver and rat on hagwon teachers or whoever...

ZenKimchi said...

My guess about the self-purifying saint of a foreigner was the person who sent them the information about a certain former ATEK communications director.

matt said...

That crossed my mind, though I imagine it was received by AES indirectly. Or that's what I would like to imagine anyways...

DSW said...

It's troubling that the media can refer to these evil people without criticism. The AES is nothing but a racist hate-group, akin to the BNP in Britain (where I'm from) and should be ignored and marginalised.

The Korea Times seems to give them undue attention and page space every day.

kushibo said...

That AES is sometimes treated as a go-to group for information on foreign teachers is precisely why AES should be pursued in the NHRCK first before pursuing anything with Naver.

Chris in South Korea said...

Where's the ANTI-anti-english-spectrum when you need them? Find an AES member stalking an English teacher? Stalking them and following them home to let them see how it feels?

If AES really wanted to do some good, why don't they try getting after some Koreans who break far more serious laws with far more regularity? Oh wait - they're only interested if FOREIGNERS break the laws... Got it...

kushibo said...

And another thing... If ATEK succeeds in getting Naver to take down the offensive material, then they have gutted their case for demonstrating AES is a hate group. Showing that past material now removed is an example of their hate speech just does not have the power to persuade like the real thing.

And even if ATEK fail, just by trying to go after them, AES now knows what's coming and they can start, beginning several days ago when this all went down, to remove the offensive stuff, thus making it harder to make a case that they're a hate group.

Again, the apparent power of AES is not in the information on their website but in their apparent influence with legislators and lazy members of the press. They must be taken down in a completely different way from this.

The more I think about this, the more I realize what a mistake it was to not first launch a concerted effort to get the group listed as a hate group with the NHRCK.

Tony said...

It wasn't received indirectly. The people responsible for sending that information to AES (____ _____ and company) said they were contacting AES because they were willing to do anything to protect their livelihoods. Where was that written? I'll see if I can dig it up.

matt said...

Feel free to leave links, but let's leave names out of it.