Saturday, March 31, 2012

The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women
Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party

[NOTE: Some of the photos below are not safe for work.]

As mentioned in part 5, the Segye Ilbo reported on January 13 that
One netizen[] posting at the '[Anti-] English Spectrum internet cafe' [...] posted about ten photos showing scenes of a secret party at M Club with people wearing t-shirts that read 'English Spectrum,' 'Ask the Playboy.' In the photos are disconcerting scenes of foreigners and Korean women enjoying a party in which they are drinking alcohol and are entwined with each other.
The title of that article was "Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?" The answer to that question would be 'no' (though that doesn't stop news outlets even today from writing about "The truth about the 'pleasure parties' thrown by foreign instructors"). In fact, two parties held at Mary Jane were openly advertised on the English Spectrum site (among others that they held elsewhere):

As the first image makes clear, the sexy costume party was held on November 26, 2004 (a month and a half earlier), while the Full Monty 70's throwback party was held on December 18, 2004 (a month earlier) at Mary Jane, a bar in Hongdae which advertised itself as a rock'n roll bar. (One post at Anti English Spectrum made clear what 'mary jane' was slang for.) A map showing its location can be seen above. The image below (from a January 30, 2005 MBC broadcast) gives a clear idea of what it looked like outside and where it was (next to the Queen's Head).

Most of the photos of the parties seen in Korean cyberspace (and media reports about them) suggested a party attended by foreign men and Korean women. According to what the Chosun Ilbo later reported, this isn't true: "Some 70 percent of the participants were Korean men and women, while the rest were foreign men and women." Photos of the party were first posted at English Spectrum in the Ask the Playboy forum (and some may have been posted at Mary Jane's cyworld page, but I'm not certain about that). The presumably male teachers who took and posted the photos obviously focused on the Korean and foreign women at the party (or interactions of them with other foreign men). When the netizens got ahold of them, the photos of Korean women with foreign men served their purpose (ie. to incite anger), while those of foreign women did not. Hence, it's mostly photos of western men/Korean women together at the parties that are easiest to find today. There were some exceptions:

I remember there being more photos of western women, but the collage below, in which there are about six photos of foreign women, most of whom seem to have taken part in the wet t-shirt contest, was the only one I found (other than the one above) that really seems to show any. Photos such as the one above may not have been taken at Mary Jane, however.

As well, in a later interview, the owner of the bar said:
There were t-shirts at the second party. In particular, the picture of the girl[s] wearing the wet t-shirt is not a picture from our bar. At the second party, English Spectrum, which hosted our banner ad, distributed t-shirts for free to some customers to create publicity.
At least some of the photos of women wearing wet t-shirts were clearly taken at the bar, but the ones with western women may not have been. To be sure then, the photos in which English Spectrum T-shirts can be seen are from the second, 70s themed party.

For an idea of the layout, a later article about the fallout from this incident included this photo of the empty Mary Jane bar:

To the right of the above photo's photographer was a corner which appears in the first photo below, and the rest appear as if doing a 360 degree pan around the room above. The near-naked fellow in this photo got a lot of attention from netizens, especially due to his underwear:

It's obviously not that clear, but most of the people in the photo below are Korean:

The owner of the bar later said that many of the more outrageous moments were deliberately posed for cameras in order to liven the atmosphere of what was otherwise a pretty boring party. This was said to have only lasted for a few minutes.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think this is a soldier?

The woman below was pretty viciously attacked by netizens:

Since the Ask The Playboy t-shirts were only worn at the second party, its easy enough to tell which photos were taken then.

 A shot of the wet t-shirt contest taking place.

The dance floor seems to be about be 50-50 split between Koreans and foreigners. Below are two Korean men, one of whom is wearing an Ask The Playboy t-shirt:

Those are all of the party photos I could find when I looked a few years ago. I remember seeing more back in 2005 when this happened. One other photo was included in a batch I downloaded, but it was later confirmed to have been taken in someone's apartment, and had nothing to do with the party.

Actually, if it was posted at English Spectrum, you'd wonder if the idea of guys posting photos of their conquests might be more offensive than that of photos taken at a party. I'd guess not, though, if the idea is to try to connect the perception of the other group of western men in Korea (soldiers who have sex with Korean prostitutes or yanggongju who meet in bars which are off limits to Koreans) to English teachers (who throw secret parties Koreans don't know about and have sex with Korean women).

After English Spectrum held two parties at Mary Jane, they planned to throw two more. The reference to 'special midnight performances' at the 'Full Monty' party held in December, 2004, might be explained by a posting at English Spectrum obviously posted before the site was closed down and saved at DC Inside and Anti English Spectrum (third result here):
Party humpers,
Just so there’s no confusion…English Spectrum and I will be hosting two parties at Mary Jane’s in Hongdae on BOTH the 14th (Friday night) and the 15th (Saturday night).
Each party will be slightly different. On the 14th, it will be much the same as the last two; meaning some sex in the female bathroom, some late night dance floor grinding and partial nudity, mixed in with the addition of some clothes-allergic professionals who should be making a guest appearance that night.
On the 15th, we will be holding an MC’ed Sexy Game Night. We will be selling drinks at an exceptionally low price from 9-12 to get everyone hammered prior to the games. From 12 to about 4 am, we’ll play a bunch of team-oriented, guy-girl-guy-girl games, each for small prizes. This will be mixed in with a fair amount of dancing (hip hop and otherwise) intermissions.
Both nights will be fun, but a little bit different. If you can make one or the other or both, please come and join the fun. The 15th will be a good time to meet new people and develop some interesting relationships.
The Playboy
One assumes the 'special midnight performances' at the 'Full Monty' party were by these 'clothes-allergic professionals.' Whether sex in the female bathroom ever took place or whether that was just bravado on the part of the Playboy, it's safe to say the discovery of the above message did little to help the furor over the party photos die down. The two parties referred to above were to take part January 14 and 15, 2005, but these parties never occurred (though certain media outlets dropped in that weekend to interview the owner and film on the premises). In fact, the media and netizen furor over foreign English teachers was only beginning.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women
Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?

In the early morning of January 13, Segye Ilbo was the first to write about how photos of a party were lashing the netizens into anger:
Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
The stir over 'denigrated Korean women' is greatly expanding as it has been claimed that the A forum of the foreigner E English instructor site, which denigrated Korean women, held an official gathering and openly threw a secret party.

One netizen's posting at the '[Anti-] English Spectrum internet cafe' which says "the foreign English instructor site and its postings denigrating Korean women were reported to 'Ilsan police station'" is being spread indiscriminately around the internet. The posting claims, "This is turning out to be unrelated to the E site incident (disparaging Korean women), but this place is also where an offline gathering organized by the site's A forum took place."

For this reason, he posted about ten photos showing scenes of a secret party at M Club with people wearing t-shirts that read 'English Spectrum,' 'Ask the Playboy.' In the photos are disconcerting scenes of foreigners and Korean women enjoying a party in which they are drinking alcohol and are entwined with each other.

The posting also made public the address of the homepage of M Club, which provided the location for the party. After the address was released, netizens connected to M Club's homepage and flooded it with comments denouncing the club. The homepage administrator finally explained that, "We have absolutely nothing to do with this incident."

M Club said, in comments "regarding the English Spectrum incident," "We know that right now photos from our party are surging throughout the internet." "Are women all whores or all yanggongju if they dance with Westerners? This is a nonsensical affair born of cultural ignorance and extreme nationalism." At the moment it has not yet been confirmed whether M Club organized the secret party.

In spite of M Club's aggressive justification, its site was flooded with comments denouncing it. As well, there is concern that the spread of photos from the photo page showing even the faces of those attending a party unrelated to the original incident might lead to a second wave of victims.

Prior to this, on the 11th the Joongang Ilbo's article "Controversy over foreign English instructor site denigrating Korean women" introduced some of the things posted at E site used by foreign English instructors in Korea, and reported how postings there which sexually denigrated Korean women had caused controversy.
The article went on to rehash the original anger at the writings by English teachers at English Spectrum. Several hours later, My Daily issued an update on the 'M Club' mentioned in the above article:
M [bar] involved in stir over denigrated Korean women closes homepage

Recently a foreign instructor site which caused controversy by denigrating Korean women temporarily shut down, and the homepage of M Bar, which organized a party for foreign instructors, removed all of its menus from the site.

By reading reports by some media outlets about the denigration of Korean women, netizens who had learned of the party organized by M Bar, and attended by Korean women and foreigners in Korea, left critical comments in the guestbook found at the bar's website.

M's manager made clear her feelings: "We know that right now photos from our party are surging throughout the internet. However, please think about the injury and pain the subjects of those photos will receive. Friends who are innocent and pure souls who went out and had fun at the place where I work have overnight become "whores and yanggongju."

"Are women all whores or all yanggongju if they dance with Westerners? Is it art if women undress in a nightclub to win a ticket for a trip to southeast Asia? The still of the foreign man people saw with mesh underwear was nothing but an impromptu performance by an artist who pursues nudity [as art]," the manager explained.

However, some netizens who made an 'anti' cafe for this site criticized M saying 'It's no different than a place that arranges prostitution.'
For those who are unaware, yanggongju means, literally, 'Western princess,' but in fact refers to prostitutes for the US military. It's not the last time we will see this term, or see women known to be with foreign English teachers referred to as such. It is also not the only way in which netizens and the media will make connections between foreign English teachers and US soldiers. For a (rare) critical look at perceptions of yanggongju, see Hyun Sook Kim's 'Yanggongju as an Allegory of the Nation: The Representation of Working-Class Women in Popular and Radical Texts,' a chapter in the book "Dangerous women: gender and Korean nationalism." You can certainly read some (perhaps all?) of it here.

As for the articles above, as the Chosun Ilbo put it days later, "When the photos were discovered, it was like pouring oil on an open fire." What would have been a minor kerfuffle over rude comments by foreign teachers on a website truly exploded with the discovery of the photos, providing the scandal with a half life which still irradiates perceptions of foreign teachers today. And yes, I will post the (censored) photos soon. But not today.

And to keep score, that's essentially two websites which have been shut down by netizens in the space of two days.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to hunt foreign women

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2:
The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women

In the early morning of January 13, 2005, the Kukmin Ilbo published an article looking at how foreign teachers weren't the only people posting problematic material on the internet:
Controversy over posting at Korean cafe site: "How to hunt foreign women"

As the foreign instructor site was temporarily shut down due to the stir over its sexual demeaning of Korean women, some Korean netizens have posted problematic things like "How to hunt foreign women."

Their postings look at "Details of how to prepare to get white women" or describe in detail to other members sleeping with Asian women from Japan or Philippines, and they even openly post photos.

Some members show great interest and post responses, but, at the same time, others charge that it is no different than the foreign instructors who sexually denigrate Korean women. The first thing one sees is "How to hunt white women using internet messengers." Netizen A, who posted it, said, "I have also used the internet to meet foreign women many times. I'm giving out tips for how to win white women over" and introduced in detail 5 simple messenger [types] to contact foreign women with and gave each a score.

In evaluating the five, in the case of one messenger, he wrote that using this messenger he'd met up to five Russian women and in fact sent them presents by mail, and was introduced to a Chinese Korean woman who came to Korea to meet him. Other members who read the post left comments saying things like "If you use the messenger well, white girls will fall for you," or that they could have a real life relationship with 18 year-old eastern European girls via messenger.

In addition, those who have slept with Asian women such as Japanese, Filipinas, or Thais have posted photos of them and even gone so far as to post lewd photos. Members who have introduced Latin American women also stand out.

In particular, they have also shared methods for getting foreign women in Korea. Member B wrote, "For western women, *** nightclub in Itaewon or *** in Hongdae are teeming with white women," and spared no effort in giving advice in how to act and what to wear. Another member, C, wrote, "If you want to meet European women go to *** techno club in Hongdae."

Member D, who wrote "Actually I've had relations with 30 Filipinas," posted specifically about how he felt about having sex with Filipinas. This writing was disclosed in an email sent by Mr. Lee (39). In an interview, Lee revealed that, "Bachelors think of marrying foreign women, and they are active at the online cafe, but many Korean men share that they are infuriated by being ignored by 'doenjang girl' Korean women." "It's regrettable that, just like how some foreign men denigrate Korean women, some Korean men also think of foreign women only as sexual playthings."

In particular, Mr. lee wrote, "I'm bitter that, like how some American men think that Korean women are easy, some Korean men possess anti-feminist and racist thinking that if they just want a southeast Asian woman they can have her."
This is in fact the first of several articles which contain criticism of male, Korean netizens which will appear during the English Spectrum incident.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2:
The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created

During the early morning of January 12, a netizen who went by the username 빠알류치 ('bbaallyuchi,' ID 'calpis'), who had been fuming over the postings on English Spectrum, created a new Naver cafe ( where netizens could gather to post about the incident, and called it Anti English Spectrum.

(Screen shots of Anti English Spectrum's header from January 13
(top) and January 14 (bottom), 2005. Click to enlarge.)

It started off slowly, with only a few posts on its first day, but by the end of the 13th there were around 200 posts, then up to over 400 posts on the 14th, 800 on the 15th, 1000 on the 16th, and 1400 on the 17th. It surpassed the 2,000 post mark on January 21, a little more than a week after forming. As for members, more than 3,000 joined in the first two days, and a week later the number was 7,000, with the 10,000 figure being surpassed after a month.

While many of the early posts from the site have been deleted, the fifth post is still readable (first result here). It posts the English and Korean language notices which greeted visitors to English Spectrum's website less than 24 hours after the Joongang Ilbo broke the story the previous morning:
Notice & Disclaimer

English Spectrum is an important web site utilized by foreigners and Koreans alike. It offers it’s users a variety of useful information from job opportunities, cultural information, city attractions, accommodation information and more.

It also allows a variety of discussion boards to run on its sites for the benefit of its users. These allow the user to post questions about a variety of issues (job, living, legal, teaching, etc) affecting their life in the Republic.

In many instances, the content available through English Spectrum represents the opinions and judgments of the respective user not under contract with English Spectrum. neither endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, advice or statement made on these forums.

As a result of negative newspaper reports depicting but a small percentage of user opinions, we at English Spectrum have decided to pull the offensive forum and are taking steps to re-organize how these forums are operated and monitored.

-The English Spectrum Team-
Here's a translation of the Korean language message:
English Spectrum’s official position

English Spectrum regrets that several indiscreet users made bad posts that had nothing to do with our intention. As English Spectrum's forums are open and anyone can post there, they do not reflect our opinions and we do not approve them.

Currently, the relevant bulletin boards have been deleted. As well, from now on any objectionable content discovered at the English Spectrum site will be immediately deleted and steps will be taken to warn the writer. The open forums will also be changed so that posting will be possible only after logging in.

English Spectrum hopes this ugly incident will not cause its proper function as a healthy site for people responsible for English education in Korea to be distorted or intimidated, and in the future we will try our best to become the a useful internet sight contributing to English education in Korea.

We would like to convey our profound appreciation to all of you who have shown continued interest and we would also like to take this chance to promise to provide better service to the many of you with a great interest in English education.

- English Spectrum representatives and staff -
Later on the 12th, the Korea Times would report on the discovery of and closure of the site:
English Instructor Web Site Criticized for Sexist Content

A Web site for foreign English instructors teaching in Korea temporarily shut down after one of its columns was accused of carrying sexually offensive content.

English Spectrum (, a popular site for foreign English teachers, had a column entitled "Ask the Playboy," which carried advice for male teachers on seducing Korean women, the local daily Joongang Ilbo reported Tuesday.

The column included posts by anonymous users who used offensive language to boast of their sexual experiences with Korean women and make fun of Korean culture.

Within a day of the report, English Spectrum took the column off the site. The offensive posts were due to the lack of a moderator for the column, Lee Ki-il, an operator for English Spectrum said.

The site currently has temporarily suspended services while it reorganizes and reevaluates how it monitors its forums, according to a notice on its Web site.
The Korea Herald would also publish a brief article about this a day later:
Web site for foreigners pulls offensive forum

English Spectrum, a website that provides information for foreigners living in Korea, has temporarily suspended service after a report in the Korean vernacular JoongAng Ilbo caused a stir among Koreans.

The site,, is primarily an information resource on entertainment and job listings for English teachers.

The JoongAng article focused on one part of the site, "Ask the Playboy," and highlighted comments made by foreigners relating to sexual conquests with Korean women. The website responded by blocking the content of the site and posting a disclaimer on the main page, "As a result of negative newspaper reports depicting but a small percentage of user opinions, we at English Spectrum have decided to pull the offensive forum and are taking steps to reorganize how these forums are operated and monitored."

Wayne Gold from English Spectrum told The Korea Herald, "I don't want to comment on it right now."
As for the two notices which the site posted, some of the commenters at Anti English Spectrum noticed the difference in the two messages... or complained that one of them was in English at all.
2005/01/14 18:08

Interesting posting... but as we already know... here is the supremacy of English. The official statement is in also in English... this is Korea...

2005/01/14 20:16

That English announcement has not been translated into hangeul. They put the English and hangeul up separately. If you look closely, the English and Korean announcements are different. The Korean announcement is quite aggressive, while the English announcement is a little soft.

2005/01/15 06:19

Idiots, this is Korea!!

2005/01/15 13:28

[...] That's the official statement? How irrational is it? That's the representative? [...]
Human garbage-like yankee bastard! Live with your dick cut off, yankee fucker!

2005/01/17 23:37
[posted perhaps after reading this translation]

The English and Korean content are totally different. The tone is not that different. There is absolutely no expression of regret in English. There is nothing about taking steps to warn [users] in the future. That measure was only put up to pretend for Koreans. That kind of talk is not said at all to the actual foreign bastard users. Only at the end when they say they're taking steps to make policies for the future for operating and monitoring [the forums are they the same]... that's all... I'm at a loss for words... actually.. writing things like "negative newspaper" and "small percentage of user opinions," makes it sound like something small has been blown out of proportion... It's very cunning... [...]

2005/01/22 13:14

English spectrum are being two faced.
Little was written about the incident in the media on the 12th, with only one article being published that evening. This was the first article about the incident by My Daily, but it would not be the last. The article begins with a screenshot of the Korean-language official position posted by English Spectrum.
Foreign English instructor site which denigrated Korean women temporarily shut down

The foreign instructor site which was criticized for its content denigrating Korean women has been temporarily closed.

The site operates various forums to exchange job information and promote friendship among foreign instructors.

Recently the site's Ask The Playboy forum, where content such as photos and writing which denigrated Korean women, such as 'Korean women are easy to enjoy,' became known to netizens in various communities and aroused public criticism.

Once this was reported by some media outlets, the site's Ask The Playboy forum was subject to nonstop posting of complaints and swearing by our country's netizens who criticized it.

The site operators expressed their position saying, "English Spectrum regrets the bad comments posted by some thoughtless users, which is not related to the site management's purpose." "As English Spectrum's forums are open and anyone can post there, they do not reflect our opinions."

As well, they stated that the problematic forum which caused a stir has been deleted. As well, it has been changed so that posting can only be registered after logging in and from now on if any objectionable content is discovered, it will be immediately deleted and steps will be taken to warn the writer.

Though the site released its official statement, netizens continue to post critical comments at other bulletin boards. As well, the issue is not dying down as photos from the bulletin board are continuously being spread through the internet, and the site hosting the official position statement has been temporarily closed down.

Reporter Park Eun-jeong
As noted in the final sentence, though English Spectrum's site was temporarily closed, "photos from the bulletin board [were] continuously being spread through the internet," and some of those photos would turn the scandal in new directions.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2:
The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money.

At 7:30 am on January 11, 2005, the Joongang Ilbo published an online version of the article that the paper had published that morning. Many thanks to Robert Koehler for blogging about this at the time and allowing me to make use of the translations from his posts.
Controversy over foreign English instructor site denigrating Korean women

The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money.”

“There is nothing good about Korea except that it’s easy to sleep with the women and make money.”

These are some of the comments posted on English Spectrum, a site used by foreign English instructors who have come to Korea. In particular, some of the comments sexually demeaning Korean women are causing controversy.

'Ask The Playboy,' a forum hosted at the site, contains information on how to seduce and sleep with Korean women, and on average there are 5-6 posts every day.

In this forum, sexually open slang is used to describe genitals and sex acts and portray Korean women in a sensational and distorted manner, while Korea has been described as 'Kimchiland.' The site is often used by foreigners looking for jobs in Korea, and is the largest among established foreign instructor job search sites in our country.

Foreigner P posted sarcastic remarks in the forum like, "We're treated like kings by Korean girls who want to learn English and enjoy free sex" and "My place is below a barber shop and it smells weird." Foreigner T wrote, "Because Korean women can't live without a mirror and have such princess complexes, you have to watch what you say." "To block their hot stares, I wear sunglasses on the subway." Comments have been posted denigrating Koreans as 'drunks.'

The site has comments like "Get close to (Korean women) by teaching them English" and "First get them hot and then don't answer the phone," as well as photos of Korean women wearing short skirts. This has led netizens, unable to hide their anger, to post comments protesting this at the site.

The netizen 'tansan' posted that this was "degrading Korean women into sexual playthings” and "this can instill prejudices into foreigners who don't know Korea well." However, David, an American who has been teaching English at a hagwon for three years, said "Most foreigners working in Korea are known to be modest and polite to Koreans," "I'm afraid that the crude behavior of some foreigners who lack common sense will cause good foreigners to be misunderstood."

Reporters Song Hae-yong, Park Seong-u
Three hours after the Joongang Ilbo article was posted, Dalian, in the first of many articles it would publish on the topic, summarized the Joongang Ilbo article and added an interview with an English teacher at the end.
Controversy over foreign English instructors denigrating Korean women


Foreign instructor T, who came to Korea ten years ago from Canada as an English instructor and is married a Korean woman, pointed out that, "That some young foreign instructors are denigrating Korean women is a problem, but Korea's social climate is also a problem." "Women who openly approach foreign instructors to learn English are also a problem."

This instructor said, "Sometimes when I meet friends I'll see some female Korean university students carrying on in the same way like they're joking around," and was concerned that "This could have an adverse effect on the majority of foreign instructors who have a good image of Koreans."
Dailian, an internet news service which had started on April 1, 2004, would use this scandal to get noticed.

An hour later, just before noon, the Hanguk Ilbo posted an article which opened by describing the Joongang Ilbo article:
"Korea is a country where you can easily sleep with women"


In response to this, netizens are unable to hide their anger, posting that this is "degrading Korean women into sexual playthings.” In particular, they pointed out that “sex hunting” by foreign English instructors had reached a serious level, and advised women to be careful of foreign English teachers who try approach them using English as bait.

On the other hand, some netizens also pointed out that "There are also problems with Korean women who unconditionally hang off of foreigners who speak English well."

One Netizen wrote, "U.S. soldiers refer to Hongdae's 'Club Day’ as 'Fucking Day.'" "It's because all they have to do is go and they can (have sex) with any women they want.” He also said, “I heard from one Australian who came to Korea as an exchange student that he had sex with over 300 Korean women in less than a year." "He might have just been exaggerating, but I worry that Korean women might appear like they have sex just to pass the time."

Meanwhile, the site in question was flooded with netizens trying to connect to it after the [Joongang Ilbo] article went up on portal sites like Naver and Empas, and could not be accessed from the morning of the 11th.
With titles like "Controversy over foreign English instructor site denigrating Korean women" and "Korea is a country where you can easily sleep with women," it's not hard to see how these articles drew attention. By the morning of January 12, English Spectrum would be 'temporarily closed,' due to this attention, while a new 'anti' cafe at Naver would be opened by netizens to combat English Spectrum and the 'low quality' foreign English teachers who posted there.

Monday, March 26, 2012


At Naver this morning was an image at the top from Hwang Sun-won's story 'Sonagi' or 'Cloudburst'/ 'Shower' and a caption saying that it is the 97th anniversary of Hwang's birth. Below it was an ad for (presumably) an English conversation class with the caption, "When foreigners speak to you, do you run away?" Somehow, I don't imagine that's how the designer of the '외국인' t-shirt pictured it being used.

I got some groceries at the supermarket down the street. I didn't find option 2 so appealing...

Maybe another time I'll get the shot of their customer service philosophy in large lettering on one wall... in autotranslated English.

Though the cherry blossoms have been out for awhile down south, I saw my first blossoms in Seoul today.

(A few others from over the years)

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident - Part 1

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women
Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party
Part 7: Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women
Part 8: The 2003 post that tarred foreign English teachers as child molesters
Part 9: Netizens shocked by foreign instructor site introducing how to harass Korean children
Part 10: 'Recruit a Yankee strike force!'
Part 11: The Daum signature campaign: 'Let's kick out low quality foreign instructors!'
Part 12: Movement to expel foreign teachers who denigrated Korean women
Part 13: "Middle school girls will do anything"
Part 14: Netizens propose 'Yankee counter strike force'
Part 15: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 1
Part 16: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2
Part 17: Web messages draw Koreans’ wrath
Part 18: Thai female laborers and white English instructors
Part 19: KBS Morning Newstime: 'I can also suffer from the two faces of the internet'
Part 20: AES: Grandfather Dangun is wailing in his grave!
Part 21: 'Regret' over the scandal caused by confessions of foreign instructors
Part 22: "Korean men have no excuse"
Part 23: "Unfit foreign instructors should be a 'social issue'"
Part 24: Growing dispute over foreign English instructor qualifications
Part 25: 'Clamor' at foreigner English education site
Part 26: Foreign instructor: "I want to apologize"
Part 27: No putting brakes on 'Internet human rights violations'
Part 28: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 1
Part 29: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 2
Part 30: Don't Imagine
Part 31: Anti-English Spectrum founder's statement
Part 32: 'Foreign instructor' takes third place
Part 33: Art From Outsider's Point of View
Part 34: U.S. Embassy warns Americans of threats near colleges
Part 35: Internet real name system debated
Part 36: Dirty Korean women who have brought shame to the country?
Part 37: Invasion of Privacy Degrades Korean Women Twice Over
Part 38: 60 unqualified native speaking instructors hired for English instruction
Part 39: The rising tide of unqualified foreign instructors
Part 40: Warrant for Canadian English instructor who molested hagwon owner
Part 41: MBC Sisa Magazine 2580: "Korea is a paradise"
Part 42: Foreign instructor: "In two years I slept with 20 Korean women."
Part 43: Viewers shocked by shameless acts of unqualified foreign instructors.
Part 44: Warrant for the arrest of a man in his 30s for breaking into home of foreign instructors
Part 45: [Cultural criticism] Hongdae club day lewd party incident
Part 46: Unqualified English instructors seen as major problem here
Part 47: Investigation of the realities of 'foreign instructors' methods for luring Korean women'
Part 48: Broadcast announcement: 'For foreign instructors, is Korea a paradise for women?'
Part 49: To white English instructors, the Republic of Korea is a paradise
Part 50: "If they're white, it's okay?" Lots of English instructor frauds...
Part 51: A new message from Anti English Spectrum
Part 52: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 1
Part 53: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 2 
Part 54: SBS, 'Is Korea their paradise? Blond hair blue eyes' part 3
Part 55: Viewers of 'Realities of unfit foreign instructors' outraged 
Part 56: Foreign instructor: "Korea is a cash and women dispenser."
Part 57: Frustration with low-standard foreign instructors: "Korea's pride damaged"
Part 58: Netizen anger over 'foreign instructor' broadcast

[Note - changes to Blogger's coding means it's difficult to update each part to insert the full list of articles above, so it's best to just return to this post to navigate the series.]

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'

(See *note at bottom)

In January 2005 Korean netizens discovered the site English Spectrum, and their anger towards the English teachers posting at the site was covered by the mainstream media and internet news sites. This was the beginning of negative media coverage of foreign English teachers that is still present today. Much like The French foreign language teacher scandal of 1984 series, I'm going to take a close look at what happened in January and February 2005 and post a series of translated articles from that time. Let us begin...

According to this site, English Spectrum was first registered in November 2000. As this blogger described it in early 2005, is known to many expatriates in Korea as a primary portal for communicating with other expatriates about life in Korea. You can find just about anything expatriate-oriented on the site, whether it be information on social events/clubs in and around Seoul, to job postings for English teachers, to even a guide and chat area for whatever anyone felt they wanted to express.
As this blogger put it at the same time,
It's advertised pretty heavily in Seoul (I've seen several large posters during my rare trips to Itaewon), and it's basically a place for foreigners to find jobs in Korea and chat and so forth. So far, so good.

Now, I haven't really used their job services, but I can tell you that their message boards are quite an ugly story. I spent a few minutes clicking around in their unmoderated Fun Forums, and it was...well, it was some of the most virulent, hate-filled crap I've ever seen. This was far beyond the 'Oh I am bored with Korea LOL'-level stuff I normally see -- this was heavy-duty, Aryan-level propaganda stuff. Very dark.
While I never looked at English Spectrum before the incident, a friend of mine used the site regularly to look for jobs, and would read the forums described above. I always got the feeling, from his description of them, that he did so despite his better judgement, as if unable to turn away from them. I can remember him one day shaking his head and saying "Man, I looked at the English Spectrum forums today, and this guy posted a question asking if anyone knew where to find a synagogue in Seoul. I just thought, 'Oh, here it comes,' and the first response was, 'I thought Hitler killed all of you guys.'" Lovely. It gets worse, though, according to this person posting at Korean ESL:
What burned me the most on English Spectrum were the derogatory writings with full of racial slurs on Koreans foreign teachers posted on "Living in Korea" column. In Living in Korea, you guys from other countries were having fun comparing Koreans to animals, a cretin was gathering gang members to destroy gooks, some high school dropouts were seeking advice where they could make counterfeit degree certificates, and some drug addicts were looking for a place to get grass.
It wasn't the 'Living in Korea' forum which ended up getting attention, however, but a different one:
In addition, they also had a message board area called Ask The Playboy, in which the cream of the ESL circuit would write for advice on, for example, scoring with married Korean women, and receive advice back along the lines of make sure you know the husband's work schedule. It was that bad.
Here is a screen shot of the Ask The Playboy forums:

As can be seen on the right above, were also other 'Ask...' forums, such as Ask The Drunk, Ask The Lawyer, and Ask The Ajumma. This blog copied and posted 'The Playboy's bio':
Playboy's Bio:
Name: The Playboy
Age: 30 & aging fast
Occupation: Int. playboy
Nationality: Proud American
Present Location: In bed

The Playboy was born in Berlin, Germany around about 1972 and raised in the sunny state of Florida. He graduated a bizarre, Davidian cult-like version of medical school following a heroic tour with the University of Miami soccer team, making a living working late nights in the streets of Overtown harvesting bone and tissue from some of the more unfortunate cadavers; both famous and infamous.

Unable to face a lifestyle of the rich and inane, the Playboy deferred his doctorate degree and took to a nomadic life helping the poor and infirm in western Asia. After a stint in the Army and being stationed in India for several years, the Playboy eventually worked his way into the sex industry and became one of the most requested harem instructors in New Delhi. After the novelty wore off, he headed east along the historic Silk Road, learning and enhancing the skills of his craft; from Bangkok, through the casino districts of Macau, all the way to training some of the notorious geisha of Gion Corner, Kyoto Japan.

The Playboy went back to the States, practiced medicine for some time and realized his passion was still in the Orient. He then booked a British steamer to Korea, linked up with the Cameroonian Lil?Bro, the surprisingly successful owner and creator of English, and decided to earn his living as a striker for the Seoul British Football Club and as a writer.

The Playboy is currently a productive gigolo; raising money to ensure his preordained entrance this fall into the Yonsei Graduate School for International Studies.

P.S. It is believed the Playboy's uncanny carnal knowledge and general perversion stem from excessive breast feeding as an infant, the accidental seventeen viewings of an Asian-dubbed version of Porky's at the age of five, and the live Prince Purple Rain concert he witnessed at age nine where he was hit in the face with juice sprayed from Prince's guitar as he simulated a combination of sex and masturbation with several groupies on stage.

Direct all concerns, inquiries or contributions to
Anti English Spectrum posted this image from Ask The Playboy:

Here are snippets of some of the comments at English Spectrum's Ask The Playboy forum which caused offense (via this blog post):
I've been here in korea for about 2 years and for the last year and a half i've had more k-pussy than you could shake a dick at. I constantly had a 5 girl rotation going and would often cut starters when new rookies came to the fore and proved their worth.

In Korea, getting a hot chick is relatively easy. A girl who is game will be attracted to you for English practice and stress free sex.

The K-girls I love are diamonds in the ripe juicey apples begging to picked off a tree and bit into. They've never had their pussies licked...never had an orgasm...never showered with a guy...never been able to relax.

I fear there is one thing I can't live without. Asian pussy. Korean pussy especially.

(PB)Don't trouble yourself. I've got a slew of girls waiting for you when you come.

(PB)I'm amazed daily at the numbers of hot, friendly chicks without guys. During the daytime, go to any coffee shop or "western" restaurant, like Outback, TGIF, or Bennigans and look around. K-Guys don't like these places and the chicks tend to migrate in packs alone...a great opportunity. At nighttime, you can find them in board game cafes, restaurants, COEX mall, coffee shops...just about everywhere. If you're looking in bars, finding a nice, "good" girl is hit or miss. Stay away from Itaewon unless you're looking to get laid, then hit Limelight, Geckos, Bricx, or Helios. In Sinchon, the hip hop club, Zen, is decent. In Hongdae, go to Saab Club, Stompers, Gold Bar, or M2 to find some girls.

(PB), too. Fuck, either way, we've tagged one of the same girls due to statistical odds. Imagine that.

I have been here almost a year and these Chicks here are so easy to get into here. I can't believe that people pay for sex here.

Hide your watch and mobile phone. Go up to the chick and ask her for the time (in Korean, of course). She'll be intrigued that you speak a little Korean and that's your stepping stone, you can then talk about where you learned the language, how long you've been here, what you're doing here, you can play age guessing games and's a lot of fun. Oh, and she'll give you the time, as well. This is the "I've been here a while, know the lingo, smart guy approach". A winner every time.

Get a subway map and tap the girl on the shoulder in the train. Ask (in Korean or English) how you go from here to there. Again, she will hopefully try to help and then that will lead into the how long you've been here, what you're doing here, you can play age guessing games and whatnot...etc. This is the classic "dumb, new guy approach". Proven success.
Another rather tasteful post from the site was quoted by a commenter at the Marmot's Hole at the time.
Title: A million things I hate about K-girls

1. Ugly Korean chicks trying to score on the internet.

2. Bitches that look at me like I like them or something…usually I walk away laughing.

3. Every bitch here has the same style. ie. black stockings, plaid or black skirts, with those annoying suede boots

4. That stupid face they their blowing up a ballon or something.

5. That stupid wide-eyed look they make when their taking a picture.

6. Schoolgirls that try to impress me with their shitty english on the train.

7. Rot breath on the hottest chick.

8. My date telling me, “Oh many foreigners like kimchi.”

9. Dramatic conversation…especially when they are asking for something.

10. Ajuma’s that think they look good.

11. Fat bitches that look at me.

12. Fat bitches that look at me and think that I am looking back.

13. Fat bitches that think I’m looking at them, and they joke and giggle with their fat friends.

14. Fat bitches.

15. Big bushes…someone need to teach these chicks how to shave.

16. Bitches dating dorky college fags because his dad has an Equuis and works for Hankook tires.

17. Any bitch in Kangnam….truley gold-digging whores out looking to marry the first rich adeshi they can find.

18. The chick I met at Slimelight that claims it was her first time…

19. Bitches that think they are black…wearing dreds and all that other ghetto shit.

20. Fuck all these ho”s!
I 'truley' hope that person wasn't an English teacher...

Another example, from here:
Name: James
Title: Sex and sleep rules...

hi playboy.

i wanted to know what do you do when you get a K chick to your house and you end up sleeping with her... but she just wants to go asleep.

Usually i find that there is the usual process of her lying in bed, and once the lights go off, one of the following happens...

1. sex straight away.
2. pretend sleeping, and touching till sex happens.
3. out of late night exhaustion mutual desire to nap till both of us wake each other up a couple of hours later and sex romp begins.
4. feeling that sex can wait till the next morning instead as more chemistry between the 2 of us may need to be established.
5.take "no" as "yes", and force sex to happen... obviously this means reading the signs that "no" really does means "yes", in which is usually does.
6.kissing + touching happens and the standard "i dont like one night stands" line is said, and then sex happens.
7. a "no" is a "no" due to her body being turning away from you, hidden in corner of bed leaving massive expectations dashed and great frustration and even at times bitter resentment for my time wasted.

My question is, whats the best way to handle number seven? Personally i feel if a girl is sleeping in my bed, sex must happen. how do you play the situation to increase likihood of a romp to occour? with the other factors i mentioned, there is always the idea that sex is probably just right around the corner, so i find it hard to actualy belive that she means "no". I am a belivier that you should stay the course if you smell an opening but on the otherhand, i dont want to look desperate, so I have to cut my losses sometimes, but it really pisses me off especially if ive made my intentions clear once the light have gone off... lose of face and control of situation being reasons.

How do you handle or advise on this?
can u help me out?



I don't know if I can help you out or not, because I swear I've never had #7 happen to me yet. You have shown your experience through your Top Seven List, as they are all very accurate and I was very amused reading them.

Obviously, for reasons that don't need to be spelled out, be very careful with your "no's" and your "yes's" are right about the meaning of them, we just know that's a line we need to be very sure about.

In my tour here to date, I've had many girls decide to spend the night. That act, all by itself, means sex. K-Girls rarely (and I mean rarely) decide to go to a guy's house and sleep there without the desire (or at least the resigning of oneself) to sex. K-Girls can be naive, but they know the guy's house-guy's bed scenario very well. With that said, no girl has ever slept at the Playboy Villa without walking away penetrated somewhere and moisturized.

I think the worst I had was a girl that refused at night and truly went to sleep...similar to your #4. But by morningtime, a bit of body rubbing and ass tickling got her going enough to seal the deal.

Any playboy will tell you that you don't win every game (just most of them). Sometimes, you have that white whale that cannot be need to recognize it as the impossible dream and admit defeat and move on. Some girls will use the sleepover as a staged event to test your mettle. Tell her to eat ****e and go home. Go take a shower, crank one out, and get dressed to hunt again the next night.

The Playboy
Anti English Spectrum also preserved the following announcement from English Spectrum. Though it may have been posted after the incident, it gives some idea of how the site raised revenue.
Thank you for your interest in sponsoring the most popular ESL/EFL websites, in Korea. (
English Spectrum receives between a hundred to a thousand accesses each day from ESL/EFL Institutes, Teachers, Students and other Experts living and working in Korea.
Below is information about our current ad rates:
• English Spectrum's front page - 200,000/month
• Other pages - \ 100,000/month
• Banner dimension - 200 X 70 pixels (can be flexible)
20% discount if you are paying for 1 year in advance. 5% discount if you are paying for 6 month in advance.
On our main page, we can guarantee your ad will be seen by every visitor to our website.
We can also help design your banner or use one that you have created. Your banner should be in GIF or JPEG format. We also accept animations.
1. Once you have decided to sponsor our web site, we will send you our contract form to be read and signed.
2. Fax or E-mail us a copy of the signed agreement.
3. E-mail your banners to as well as the web address you want your banner linked.
4. We will send you our bank account for payment.
5. Once payment has been confirmed, we will have your banner up.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Walter T.
Such banner ads were not just used to advertise sponsors, but to advertise promotional parties held by sponsoring bars and clubs. (Click to enlarge the top photo to see who was 'Proudly Sponsor[ing]' the Playboy Forum.)

While the written content of the Ask The Playboy forum would raise the ire of Korean netizens, it was photos of what happened at an offline Ask The Playboy party that would turn a minor incident into a full fledged scandal, one which made 'foreign instructor' the third-most popular online search term at Daum that week. This series will explore the media response to the incident.

*Note - the English Spectrum website was bought by Hi Expat several years ago and is a completely different site now.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Drug busts, expanded drug testing, and MoE headaches for foreign hagwon instructors

As blogged at the Marmot's Hole last week, seven Korean-Americans, including two lawyers and a native speaking English instructor, were arrested on drug-related charges on March 15, with all but one being arrested for dealing. As the Korea Herald reported,
According to Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, a corporate lawyer, a native-speaking English teacher, and two others were indicted on charges of marijuana possession with intent to sell. [...] According to prosecutors, the teacher sold 5.3 million won worth of marijuana from December 2010 to February of this year, and was in possession of 55 grams of cocaine and 40 ecstasy pills.

The teacher worked in Gangwon Province from 2007 before moving to Seoul and teaching kindergarten students from 2009.

Prosecutors say that the teacher purchased the marijuana from a 24-year-old Korean-American currently in a gang in the U.S. Prosecutors also believe the teacher may be a “professional” drug dealer considering that he was in possession of a digital scale and other drugs.
This story was pretty widely reported in the Korean language press with around 40 articles on the bust, out of which 32 mention native speakers. I think I liked NoCut News' article's title best ("Drug dealing by English kindergarten native speaking teacher, international lawyer as well") - no other report (other than the Herald article above) mentioned the kindergarten connection. (One thing about the NoCut News title is its mention of a kindergarten 'teacher' (gyosa in Korean); gyosa (school teacher) and gangsa (hagwon instructor) have very clear meanings when applied to Koreans, but seem to be applied to foreigners depending on how the reporter/editor is feeling that day.) The Hankyoreh stepped up and offered this cartoon to accompany this article:

"By day, a company lawyer. By night, a dealer."
(Holding a bag of pot and giving an evil laugh.)
(At least this time he looks Asian)

The Herald article adds these statistics at the end of the article:
According to data from the Korea Customs Service, 25 percent of smugglers caught in 2011 were from the United States. Marijuana accounted for 7 percent of all drugs confiscated the same year.

In 2011, the National Police Agency apprehended 243 foreigners on drug-related charges, down from 858 in 2010. Figures were not released for total drug-related arrests of foreigners and Koreans for last year, but the figure was 9,732 in 2010.
What's interesting is that I can't find the 2011 statistics described above in the news media anywhere - but different figures do turn up at the Supreme Prosecutors Office. As is turns out, they put out monthly updates on drug prosecutions, and here is a 2011 year-end report.

(Click to enlarge.)

As can be seen, the total number of arrests fell from 9,732 in 2010 to 9,174 in 2011. A closer look at the 2010 statistics can be seen in last year's annual SPO drug report. At that time, the media released articles with titles like "Domestic drug crimes decrease, drug crimes by foreigners increase" (Kookmin Ilbo), despite the fact that drug crimes by both Koreans and foreigners had decreased that year. Here are the number of foreigners arrested for drugs from 2001 to 2010:

2011 saw 295 foreigners arrested for drugs - a massive decrease from the past three years. One wonders how the media will spin this (if its reported at all) considering the narrative that has been constructed regarding growing foreign drug crime. Here's the 2011 break down by country:

China 104
US 81
Vietnam 33
Canada 19
Nigeria 12
Russia 9
Thailand 8
Japan, South Africa 3 each
Taiwan, Germany, Brazil, UK, Iran, 2 each
New Zealand, Romania, Surinam, Spain, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Ireland, Uzbekistan, Israel, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Australia 1 each

Interestingly, Thais have been far and away the leaders for drug arrests since 2008, but last year only 8 were arrested (compared to 711 in 2008, 578 in 2009, and 419 in 2010). There were 124 arrests of Sri Lankans in 2010 and just 1 last year (which is similar to most other years). It's interesting how the numbers fluctuate.

The Law Times, however, reported the following in regard to the lawyer drug bust:
A prosecution official said, "'White collar' foreign drug crime by people like American lawyers or native speaking instructors is steadily increasing." "We will continue strong enforcement against foreign drug crimes."
Interesting that there were so few reported drug crimes by foreign teachers last year (nine), and yet such crime by them is "steadily increasing." (For more on last year's media discourse on foreign teachers and drugs, see here.)

Later on the day of the drug bust involving the Korean American lawyers, teacher, and students, KBS, as the Marmot put it, "focused on the real problem—i.e., the lone English teacher who got busted—warning that there is a hole in the system." KBS has in fact looked at the F visa loophole before, in 2009 (though that time it was an F-2 visa holder). Here's some of what KBS reported:
In particular, since Mr. J entered the country on an F-4 visa, or jaeoe dongpo (or gyopo) visa, he could avoid a drug test.

Jang Gwangj-hui (Gyeonggi-do Gwangju-Hannam Office of Education section chief): "Last year, when hiring before the revision of the hagwon law, (hiring) without submitting documents (drug tests) was allowed."

Poly School, which was responsible for managing the native speaking instructor, took the position that a hagwon is not legally responsible for an instructor's individual crimes. [...]

Currently there are 15,400 native speaking instructors at hagwons in Korea.

Among these, 10% or 1,500 people are overseas Korean F-4 visa holders who do not need to submit criminal record checks which include a drug test certificate.

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology plans to confirm whether native speaking instructors working at well-known Seoul-area hagwons [are taking drugs via] a drug test when they are newly hired or when they renew their contracts, regardless of their visa status.
It's nice to see those numbers for hagwons and the percentage of those on F-4 visas, since I've never seen such figures before. It's that last paragraph, however, which is most interesting, as it describes how the MoE plans to implement last year's revision of the Hagwon Law. Here are the parts of the revised bill pertinent to the discussion:
Article 13-2 (the hiring of foreign instructors) The person who established or manages the hagwon must, when hiring a foreign instructor to be responsible for foreign language instruction, submit the each of the following documents and have them confirmed before hiring the instructor:

1. A criminal background check
2. A health certificate (issued within the previous month and including the results of a drug and marijuana test)
3. An educational background certificate
4. Anything else prescribed by presidential decree
[As well, Article 23, which deals with penalties, will have paragraph 3-1 added to it, which stipulates that 3 million won will be the penalty if Article 13-2 is not followed.]

Supplementary Provisions

Article 5 (Interim Measures for foreign instructors carrying out foreign language instruction) According to the revised regulations in article 13-2, those currently working as foreign instructors must submit the documents listed in article 13-2 within one month of this law coming into effect.
Of course, it would be foolish to assume that the MoE would think, "Well, E-2s already do all of this, so we need to apply this to F visa holders only." They are, instead, requiring new drug tests, criminal record checks and notarized degrees of teachers on E-2 visas (who have already submitted such documents to immigration), and will require two copies of these documents for newly hired teachers. It's all the more ridiculous when one considers that teachers working for public schools (which require drug and HIV tests and criminal record checks of all of its teachers regardless of visa) don't face such doubled up document requirements despite the involvement of local offices of education and the MoE.

The new policy is mentioned here, and discussed at Dave's ESL Cafe here, here, here, and here. People preparing to come to Korea are complaining about receiving the new request for additional documents after just receiving their criminal record checks (after lengthy waits). It also appears that some Ministry of Education branches will allow teachers already in country to make copies of their documents at the immigration office, while others won't allow this.

It's interesting that, according to that KBS article, the Ministry of Education plans to require foreign hagwon instructors to a take a "drug test when they are newly hired or when they renew their contracts, regardless of their visa status." There's nothing in the law (see above) that says anything about needing these documents when renewing their contracts - only when being hired. On the other hand, I'm not sure what the legal basis is for SMOE (and other offices of education) requiring drug and HIV tests when rehiring teachers. And, of course, with the most recent arrests, there have been editorials saying that "tests can only verify whether drugs have been used within the last two weeks," which comes pretty close to suggesting random drug testing.

I was made aware of the new policy recently when someone I know told me that he was being required to turn in not just a new drug test, but also an HIV test - something the new law does not mention at all. Mind you, on the health test I took, the HIV test was included in the drug test section, so it might just get thrown in there anyway.

What last year's revision to the hagwon law has apparently done is complete the codification of drug testing for all native speaking instructors in hagwons and public schools, and perhaps in practice this will mean repeat drug testing. This could be explained as necessary, of course, due to higher drug arrest rates for foreigners in Korea. Not that it ever is, however - statistical analysis would require more effort than regurgitating police/prosecution statistics and toeing the 'foreign crime is increasing' party line. That line ("the crime rate among native English teachers is getting higher") was used to justify these bills (which were partly included in the recent revision of the hagwon law) despite the national assembly representative who introduced them not having any statistics to back that assertion up.

This all said, I couldn't help but find part of this article to be rather interesting:
“How many addicts do you think are here in Korea?” asked Cho, who has been engaged in curing addicts to alcohol and gambling for the past 23 years.

“There are about 8 million addicts in a variety of sectors, about 16 percent of the nation’s total population ­ 2.3 million gambling addicts, 1.7 million Internet addicts, 1.6 million alcohol addicts, 1.5 million drug addicts and 800,000 game addicts.”
1.5 million drug addicts? That's about 3% of the population - if we assume such a figure is true (and if it is, I would imagine abuse of legal drugs would make up most of it). And on a similar track, Kushibo posted an article from the late 1980s about Korea as a major source of methamphetamine.