Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another overseas Korean wanted for murder has been working as an English teacher

[Update: The story is now in the Korea Times, Joongang Daily, Focus News Network, Hanguk Ilbo (under the title "2nd generation Korean Canadian fleeing murder robbery arrested;Also an unqualified native speaking teacher [while] in Korea") and Yonhap, under the title "After murder in Canada, gyopo fled to Korea, taught English." Yonhap tells us that "It was discovered that Y had no problem teaching English in Language Hagwons despite having no teaching qualifications," and suggests the immigration violations Ye is being investigated for is teaching English illegally.]

It's been a busy month for foreign English teacher stories in the news, with new ones coming almost daily. Yesterday's I came across after reading this NoCut News article:
Korean Canadian murderer a 'native speaking teacher' in Cheongdam-dong and Mok-dong
Surrenders due to pressure of extradition warrant

It has come to light that a second generation Korean Canadian who committed murder in Canada has been working as an English teacher at English hagwons in Cheongdam-dong and Mok-dong for several years.

The national police service's foreign affairs section announced today that a Korean Canadian, Y (25), had been arrested for violating immigration law and was set to be extradited.

Police discovered that Y fled to Korea after he and ethnic Korean accomplices broke into a marijuana grow op in Toronto and shot and killed a person in May 2007.

Of particular interest is the fact that during his time on the run in Korea, Y openly taught as a 'native speaking teacher' at English hagwons in Cheongdam-dong and Mok-dong.

However, at the end of the 2008, Y was added to Interpol's 'red notice' wanted list at the request of the Canadian government. In August, at Canada's request, the Seoul High Court issued an arrest warrant for extradition, and feeling the pressure of this, Y turned himself in to police today.

After their investigation into Y's immigration crimes are complete, he will be transferred to the Seoul Detention Center, and at an extradition hearing at the Seoul High Court a final decision will be made regarding his extradition.

Y will be tried in Canada for first degree murder.
The Maeil Gyeongje tells a similar story, adding that he also taught in Jamsil-dong and Samjeon-dong in Songpa-gu. If you were disappointed that NoCut News wasn't up to its normal, biased standard of 'reporting,' then perhaps the Herald Gyeongje's story, titled "How can we [possibly] trust English hagwons [enough] to send our children to them? Overseas Korean fleeing murder charge worked here as a native speaking teacher" will be more to your liking. It reveals more about the crime that Y, referred to here as "Ye," committed, but I'll get to that in a moment.
A shock was received today when it was learned that a Korean Canadian who committed a murder in Canada fled to Korea and worked as a native speaking teacher for more than a year. This person was lacking any required qualifications such as a university degree and a criminal to boot, which proves that criminals can enter the native speaker teacher market, once again bringing English hagwon native speaking teachers' qualifications under fire. [...]

In July 2007, Ye fled the Canadian police and entered Korea using his passport. It has become known that while hiding out here, Ye worked as a native speaking teacher at English hagwons in Cheongdam-dong and Mok-dong. In particular, police noted that despite being a high school dropout, Ye worked in Gangnam and Mok-dong areas for more than one year as a native speaking teacher.
The article ends with a police official expressing shock that Ye worked as a native speaking teacher in the Mok-dong and Gangnam areas without any teaching qualifications and stating that police plan to investigate the hagwons which hired him.

A search in English for information turned up a Toronto Sun article from January 29 this year titled "Murder suspect teaching in S. Korea, cops say".
Toronto homicide detectives believe that the man who shot another in the head during a 2007 marijuana-related home invasion is teaching English in South Korea.

They want Sang-Woo Ye, 27, to pack up and return home, where he faces a first-degree murder charge, along with conspiracy to commit robbery and forcible confinement. Korean police are searching for the Canadian-born man.

Det.-Sgt. Dan Nielsen alleges it was Ye who pulled the trigger, killing Khong Duy Nguyen, 33, on May 9, 2007, in the victim’s Dean Park Dr. home, which was also the site of a marijuana grow operation.

Nguyen and his wife were bound in separate rooms during a robbery set up by a relative by marriage, Nielsen said. During the robbery of a large quantity of marijuana, Nguyen was shot in the head.

He said Ye has been in South Korea for a “couple of years” and taught English.

“We have been working with Korean authorities and the RCMP to locate him so he can be returned to Canada,” Nielsen said. “He knows that he’s wanted.”[...]

Four Toronto men, who were originally charged with first-degree murder, have since been convicted of lesser charges.
Digital Journal has an article from the same day titled "Man sought for Toronto murder, thought to be in S. Korea," which also has a photo of Ye. It notes that the murder took place on May 9, 2007, and reveals this:
Homicide Squad Detective Sergeant Dan Nielsen of the Toronto Police said in a phone interview that Ye is a Canadian citizen with family in South Korea. Ye has a visa that has been extended once to be in that nation.
I think it's safe to assume that Ye is on an F-4 visa, and thus he wouldn't need any kind of criminal background or diploma verification check (at least the ones required by immigration). Cases involving people working as English teachers who were either former Korean American gang members, such as those arrested in October 2006 (see here and here), or Korean Americans wanted for murder (Such as David Nam in 2008 (see here and here) or the person caught in March, or Daniel Min Suh, who is still a fugitive and may be in Korea) have occurred several times, and each time there are calls to tighten the visa process which are invariably aimed at E-2 visa holders, even though much of the time the offenders are either Korean citizens or F-4 visa holders.

On the bright side, you do get some fun cartoons:

'English instructor' (2006, from here)

"Wanted" "Teacher" (2008, from here)

(Gumiho teacher, 2010, from here)

I wonder what we'll get this time?


kushibo said...

Criminal background checks for all!

Kamiza said...

Funny how this idea of Korean "purity" blows up in South Korea's face. Gotta love that F4 visa, bringing the long-lost family members back to the homeland; and, the idea that if they have Korean blood, they must be innocent and unstained. Ha!
Extensive criminal background checks for all, and especially for
ethnic Koreans returning to the peninsula!!!!!!

Darth Babaganoosh said...

Immigration just has to get out of the background checking business and leave it up to those who SHOULD be doing it, namely, the Ministry of Education.

The MoE already has a policy forcing EVERYONE in public school (Korean or foreigner, and every visa under the sun) to submit background checks.

It's time they extended this policy to every school where children are being taught, including hagwons and camps. If hagwons and camps had to follow the same policy as public schools, there wouldn't be anyone getting through the net. Certainly, the KoCa in the OP would have been caught in the net of a background check before he was hired.

milton said...

It’s interesting how, over at AES, this story has racked up a whopping...3 comments. (In contrast, a story about a foreign teacher who stole things from his/her school has 11 comments.) You’d think that this is the exact type of thing that group was set up to prevent. I mean, what could possibly be worse than a wanted murderer teaching your kids? But I guess the fact that the person was of Korean “blood” means he isn’t immoral or “low quality” enough to warrant AES’s concern.

I guess we just have to “understand his situation.”

Ed Provencher said...

I worked with him at Hyeonjae 현재어학원. I have pics to prove it. His English name was Mike. He had a foreign born Korean hiphop music way of talking. That’s harder to describe than I thought. Talk about a surprise when I heard the news.