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Korean middle school student falls to her death after being raped and robbed

Children’s Day is, for most Korean children, the number one holiday of the year and is generally spent with family and friends. It is normally a joyous occasion but this year it has been marred by the horrific death of a 15-year-old girl middle school student named Han who lost her life after being sexually assaulted and robbed by two boys, Lee (14) and Yoem (15).  According to this Seoul Sinmoon article (Korean).  I will not attempt to translate the article but will merely summarize it (naturally I would appreciate any assistance in correcting any mistakes I might have made).

The girl had the misfortune of meeting the two boys while on her way home from Namsong Station (line 7). The boys accosted her at first claiming that she resembled someone who had stolen their motorcyle and insisted that she follow them to an apartment complex some 1.5 kms away to verify if she was the culprit. Yeom stayed on the first floor to keep watch as his younger friend, Lee, took the girl up to the machine room on the roof of the building (23 floors) by the emergency stairwell. There, Lee raped and sexually molested her for almost an hour before the girl was able to break away and try to escape. Lee pursued her and the girl slipped and fell from the roof to her death.

Lee tried to disguise her death as a suicide by leaving the girl’s cellphone placed neatly at the edge of the roof – for those unfamiliar, Koreans who commit suicide by jumping tend to remove their shoes before the act. At first the police believed it was an act of suicide until they began to investigate and discovered that some of the last messages sent from the girl’s cellphone were not from her but from Lee to his friends. CCTV also verified the boys were in the area. The boys were apprehended the following day. Lee has been charged with rape, robbery (he stole 6,500 won) and for her subsequent death while Yoem has been charged with making a false statement or perjury.   Lee is no stranger to being on the wrong side of the law.  He has a previous record of extorting some 2,000,000 won in total from some 80 students.  The boys apparently have shown little remorse and when asked by the police where they were following the girl’s death they merely answered that they had gone home and went to sleep.

According to the article – in 2006 there were 1,811 minors convicted of sexual assaults.  In 2007 there were 2,136; in 2008 the number rose to 2,717 and in 2009 there were 2,934.  By February of this year there were 370.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    Compare the reaction of the Korean people and the “Netizens” to _this_ girl’s death and the unfortunate USFK-related traffic accident a few years ago…

    Then you’ll know whether we should keep our troops in the country…

    I am not holding my breath waiting for apologies for the @#$% USA songs; but Lee and Yeom ought to be beaten to death for their actions…

    http://comps.fotosearch.com/comp/UNA/UNA536/korean-images-punishment_~u18430343.jpg

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    setnaffa, I like you, but for better or worse, people react differently to what appear to be equivalent situations for any number of reasons. (See, e.g., “missing white woman syndrome”.) That does not affect America’s interest in Korea. American troops are not in Korea for charity; they are there for America’s interests. It would be nice if Koreans are more thankful that America’s interests align with theirs. (I sure am thankful.) But the level of gratitude shown by Koreans is, at the end of the day, irrelevant.

    And if you are implying that Korean Netizens are showering these two boys with love, that’s completely incorrect. If Netizens had their way, “beaten to death” would be the most generous outcome.

  • http://pawikirogii.blogspot.com pawikirogii

    there’s intense interest right now regarding the murder of a lacorsse player by another lacrosse player. i wonder if there would be such interest if the victim and the perpatrator were both black.

  • slim

    @2 – well said.

    Beyond the tu quoque-ish problem with #1, it is not helpful to compare every tragedy to that particular 2002 event or even to weigh that in terms of the shallow emotion of gratitude.

    For me, the serious issues with the 2002 schoolgirl deaths, beyond the sad loss of life, were:
    –USFK PR sense and skills
    –ROK media malfeasance (repeated in the Mad cow protests)
    –Deliberate politicization by ROK pols of all stripes
    –Propensity of a significant part of the ROK populace to descend into groupthink (repeated in the Mad cow protests)

    I leave it to those who live in Korea to assess whether things have changed.

  • American Kim

    I’m probably going to be assaulted and insulted for this, but here it goes.

    Sometimes native Koreans seem to have absolutely no sense of conscience. Perhaps they are acting as many are good at it, but the extremely nonchalant expressions and responses I’ve seen on many on them (the typical “uh. gureh?”) and the fact many I’ve seen not only deny doing bad things but show no remorse and no penitence whatsoever when confronted with evidence of their actions has shocked me as I learned more about them in my upbringing as a Korean-American.

    These two boys are great examples, just like the other horrifying cases of teen violence, rape, etc. Perhaps Korean society has a built-in mechanism if not full-blown mentality of irresponsibility and lack of accountability.

    I may not be expressing myself as coherently as I should but I’m enraged by this. I hope these boys never leave prison. Hell, give me 10 minutes alone with each; I’d make sure they’d never walk and talk again.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    AK,

    No assault (I hope) but one thing I will say is that I don’t think you can equate what these two boys did with your believe that “native Koreans seem to have absolutely no sense of conscience” just as much as anyone else can take what two fucked up American boys do to make commentary on America’s collective conscience.

  • timer95

    @6 +1

    Indeed. What should anger us is the incredible widespread use of stereotypes, and how these stereotypes malign whole groups of people. Stereotypes are the enemy. Not people.

  • slim

    >>>i wonder if there would be such interest if the victim and the perpatrator (sic) were both black.

    The UV lacrosse case, in which a male lacrosse player with a record of violence killed is one-time girlfriend who was also a lacrosse player, has sparked an intense debate about sexism among elite athletes and whether they get a free pass for boorish or violent behavior. Secondarily, some parents are complaining that the UV administration is lax on under-aged alcohol policy. Of course, lacrosse is a preppy, mostly white sport (and the Duke lacrosse case draws extra focus to this issue) , but those issues would apply to a black athlete killing his black girlfriend.

  • gangpehmoderniste

    wangkon: this time i will play the unlikely role of Korea critic: all the Koreans i talked to consistently (a small sample indeed) seem to be completely oblivious of any crime happening in the country. The same attitude i found among Japanese and Hong kong citizens, it is like the rich Asian nations lulled themselves into believing the myth of their crime-free societies, which in turn lead to a complete lack of serious interest for criminal phenomena, outside the usual romanticisation of gundal/yakuza/triad flicks.

    Completely lax attitudes toward security are indeed pleasant but i don’t know if the country can really afford it anymore: if it is undoubtedly true that Korea lack (praised be the Almighty) that kind of senseless, threatening, drug-fueled climate of aggression that most Western cities seem to possess, a close check of international homicides rate reveal how Korea is indeed more murderous than lots of Western nations:

    http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=1447

    shocking, isn’t it ?

  • Sonagi

    Beyond the tu quoque-ish problem with #1, it is not helpful to compare every tragedy to that particular 2002 event or even to weigh that in terms of the shallow emotion of gratitude.

    Indeed, a girl falling to her death after being raped is not a tragedy. In the US, these boys would be facing felony murder charges. Since minors aren’t tried as adults in Korea, I expect these remorseless rapists will be back on the streets in a few years.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    gangpeh,

    You? A Korea critic? Who have you been hanging around with recently!?!? J/K. Btw… I don’t think the crux of my comment # 6 was really talking about the frequency of crime, just relating crime to making a generalized judgement of the society.

    In response to your data on homicide. I certainly don’t doubt the info, but people in Korea may feel safer because there is likely less random crime (murder 2 and manslaughter) than in other countries. So, perhaps Koreans are less likely to kill strangers but more likely to kill friends/acquaintances? I don’t know… I certainly don’t have the data to back that up but it’s just a thought.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Also… I wonder if a traffic accident in Korea is considered a homicide? That may, ahem… explain the numbers a bit.

  • Sonagi

    Sometimes native Koreans seem to have absolutely no sense of conscience.

    These two boys are great examples, just like the other horrifying cases of teen violence, rape, etc. Perhaps Korean society has a built-in mechanism if not full-blown mentality of irresponsibility and lack of accountability.

    Cases like this are a news staple in the US. I would expect a greater percentage of Americans to have a sociopathic lack of conscience owing to extreme levels of violence and social disfunction that exist in some neighborhoods.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Indeed, a girl falling to her death after being raped is not a tragedy.

    Good grief woman! I know you spent some time in blighted lovely Detroit, but c’mon!

  • slim

    >>I wonder if a traffic accident in Korea is considered a homicide?

    In some local media during the 2002 protest fever, it was portrayed as such. Some outlets spread the canard that the drivers intentionally hit the girls and laughed about it afterward.

  • slim

    @13. I think she meant it is a CRIME not a tragedy, and stand corrected in my use of the word there.

  • Sonagi

    It’s not a tragedy, Wangkon. It’s felony murder in some US jurisdictions.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Stalin: “One death is a tragedy. A million is a statistic.”

    :o

  • http://sonoficeberg.wordpress.com/ Iceberg

    Let’s not let semantics distract us from the topic.

    Hopefully these boys are treated like the criminals they are and will be kept off the streets for however long Korean law will allow.

  • American Kim

    In the US, these boys would be facing felony murder charges. Since minors aren’t tried as adults in Korea, I expect these remorseless rapists will be back on the streets in a few years.

    Not just this, but there are some things which IMO perpetuate, if not foster, a mentality of irresponsibility.

    Not too long ago there was a case of a young girl being beaten, abused, and bullied by another girl. The victim cried and begged for mercy while the aggressor continued it. From the details I remember, someone recorded this attack on cell phone and it was circulated. Both were 13 or 14. The perpetrator ostensibly wrote online, “so what? You can’t do anything to me! I’m under the age!” or something of the sort – meaning, she knew what she had done was wrong, but felt that she could get away with it thanks to Korea’s youth laws (if there are any. Are there?)

    As bad as this was, what about the Daegu rape scandal? The legal case ended and charges weren’t filed. I’m not saying it happened because the system is flawed (although I do think it is) but in this case because victims and families didn’t cooperate.

    Add all this – case after case after case – with a society & legal system unprepared to face this head on. Does this discourage potential perpetrators? Does this say, “rape or abuse or what not and you WILL pay for your crimes?”

    Maybe this explains why some expats I’ve met here in America have exclaimed surprise at the severity of US laws. The US system is large, complex, and varied – and I’m not a lawyer – but if two teens did this, they’d be in a lot of trouble.

  • inkevitch

    Would he be charged for murder or manslaughter? Another questioin is have they done this to other girls? (Without the falling to death part)

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    AK,

    1. It is really easy to get a distorted picture of a whole country if you only focused on its police blotter.

    2. It is legitimate to think that longer prison terms do not equate to great crime deterrence. In fact, many criminologists believe that effective criminal deterrence happens with more surveillance instead of longer prison sentence. Also, even with one of the highest incarceration rate in the world, U.S. is still one of the leaders of homicide rate in the industrialized world.

    Sure, it makes one feel good to think that rapists and murders will be behind bars for life instead of behind bars for three years. Heck, it might make one feel better if they are drawn and quartered in the public square. But the question should not be about what strokes our sense of vengeance; it should be about what prevents future crime.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    TK, you’re leaving ou the fact that at least 20% of our prison inmates entered the country illegally and committed felonies while in the country.

    If we were of a mind to actually control our borders, we might actually see crime rates that mirrored “more civilized” countries…

    I wish we had a shot or a pill or a coloring book that would rehabilitate people who commit heinous acts. I think it’s all they deserve to give ‘em 15 minutes with a priest, put ‘em in a hole, and put dirt on ‘em. Deep hole. Lots of dirt.

    But we still have people who want to study psychopaths, instead of giving them the “medicine” society needs…

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ jefferyhodges

    Slim, the laughter rumor might have started with a mistranslation. Immediately after the accident, the driver was described in the Stars and Stripes (or similar) as being in hysterics. I think that some Korean translator might have misread that to mean hysterical laughter rather than hysterical tears.

    Be that as it may, I agree that the accident was completely and intentionally distorted by the left in Korea as a murderous assault.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    setnaffa, I would appreciate a cite for that “at least 20 percent” figure. Not doubting you, but just want to know where it came from.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #3,

    Murders committed in the US (over 16000 in 2008) are vastly ignored by the press.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “all the Koreans i talked to consistently (a small sample indeed) seem to be completely oblivious of any crime happening in the country.”

    You obviously forget that the crime rates are about the same here as in Canada (about 300 murders per year, as opposed to 16000 per year in the US) and that the South Korean media doesn’t sensationalize violent crimes as the American media does.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #25,

    …Not to say that the American media isn’t fixated on violent crimes.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “If we were of a mind to actually control our borders, we might actually see crime rates that mirrored “more civilized” countries…”

    Mmm, nope. The US crime rate would still be about 2 to 3, probably even 4 times that of South Korea, Canada, Japan, Norway, etc.

    (Double checked, there are about 580 murders per year in Canada).

  • slim

    “Murders committed in the US (over 16000 in 2008) are vastly ignored by the press.”

    “You obviously forget that the crime rates are about the same here as in Canada (about 300 murders per year, as opposed to 16000 per year in the US) and that the South Korean media doesn’t sensationalize violent crimes as the American media does.”

    Pick one unsupported generalization and stick with it, eh?

  • Sonagi

    TK, you’re leaving ou the fact that at least 20% of our prison inmates entered the country illegally and committed felonies while in the country.

    Since there are an estimated 10-12 million undocumented residents out of 309 million people in the US, I found that statistic dubious, and sure enough, it is. About 20% of FEDERAL prison inmates are noncitizens, both legal and illegal immigrants. State prison populations are much lower, about 4.6%. Since most inmates are housed in state prisons, the overall percentage for both is 6.4%.

  • JW

    For one thing, the consequences of being arrested can be enormous for illegal immigrants, which is an obvious deterrent to crime. For another, immigrants, as a group, aren’t typical of the population. The fact that they have picked up and moved to another country suggests that they have more ambition, and perhaps even more skill, than the average person. This could help explain why the United States, a nation of immigrants, is such an economic powerhouse.

    Hahahaha, that’s right bitches.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #29,

    It’s a well-known fact that the US media sensationalizes crime in order to attract an audience, and does so every chance it gets. In doing so, they pick and choose the ones that will attract the largest possible audience (thus ignoring the vast majority of crimes).

    I’m willing to entertain the idea the South Korean media would sensationalize crime as much as the American media does if the crime rates were as high as in the US…But it remains that it doesn’t.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    Given that these two have a history of criminal behaviour I’d be very interested to know what role their middle school teachers have played in their lives. I can’t help but wonder if this is another case of teachers pretending certain things aren’t happening until they spiral out of control and something like this happens.

  • cmm

    Pick one unsupported generalization and stick with it, eh?

    and be sure you include the relative populations of each country to put the relative numbers of murders into a fair perspective.

  • R. Elgin

    What the paper did not say was out here in Gwanak-gu, where I live, there has been a growing problem with middle-school aged kids (some of which must be runaways) who have their own little gangs who run wild, causing problems such as trashing playgrounds by hanging out in them, smoking, drinking, sleeping on abandoned mattresses, etc. and also peep in windows, spray gang slogans on walls, etc.
    My neighbors have had just such a problem and it has steadily gotten worse over the last five years. Gwanak-gu tore out the old playground behind our building and replaced it just this month with a new playground — complete with security cameras and lights — but the lights remain off, the camera does not work and the punks have been seen back there again.
    One great problem is the blatant unwillingness of the police to take any action. They have received numerous complaints from people in the neighborhood, yet they have only come out, looked around and drove away. They claim that there is nothing they can do about this.
    I will bring this issue up to the local politicians when I see them too since there does not seem to be anyone with enough nerve to confront this problem. This problem has gone on way too long locally.

  • dogbertt

    But the question should not be about what strokes our sense of vengeance; it should be about what prevents future crime.

    They’re not mutually exclusive — why can’t we have both?

    I have no problem noting some criminologists’ belief that “effective criminal deterrence happens with more surveillance instead of longer prison sentences” (although I find it a bit vague), but also note that the criminal who is imprisoned for his crimes is himself deterred and punished — a noble goal.

  • http://bensmatrix.wordpress.com/ ElCanguro

    Disgusting story. I hope these punks are punished to the full extent of the law and tried as adults for their heinous crimes. However, that seems very unlikely.

    Jumps onto his soapbox

    It seems to be a problem in almost all affluent, developed economies – increasingly violent, disrespectful and anti-social teens. Korea having just reached the level of development to be labeled a relatively affluent nation is experiencing what has been going on in most Western economies, and even Japan to a lesser extent, for the last few decades.

    I must being getting old but, since coming back to Australia recently I’ve been surprised at the sense of arrogance, self-entitlement and rudeness a lot of individuals under 25 display here. It truly seems like a large portion of a generation suffer from narcissistic personality disorder here. They’ll make rude comments within earshot – but, always when there’s at least one buddy to back them up – with no qualms and many seem to be almost egging on for a physical confrontation. Or, perhaps they lack social skills and are just clueless as to deal with real people as a result of their childhood . Though, maybe it’s just me getting old, it wasn’t all that different here 15 years ago when I was a teen.

    Regardless, I blame several factors for this worldwide phenomenon: 1) Lack of discipline in the classroom and more importantly at home. Teens of today are the product of more lenient parenting where parents were encouraged never to physically reprimand children, do nothing to damage their creativity and try to reason with children as opposed to the more traditional parenting of generations before. Teachers became liable for any physical and/or emotional punishment and as such cowered to teens who knew too well how to play the game as they knew teachers were powerless. Corporal discipline was abolished, along with any teacher-student touching of any kind, to the point that teachers can’t physcially console a crying child for fear of litigation.

    2) Lack of punishment when children commit crimes or do wrong. You know there’s a problem when a child has more power in a student-teacher relationship than the teacher. Children commit crimes time and time again, only to be given understanding, support and lenient – if any – punishment. Children need boundaries to know right from wrong, without boundaries – and punishment for when they cross the line – they are lured into thinking they can get away with anything with very dangerous results such this case shows.

    3) A change in popular media and their psychological affects on children. In many cases, parents became distant and children turned to media such as the Internet and computer games for entertainment and emotional sustainence. The emotional disconnect of being safe beyond an anonymous – in most countries – network where you can do and say as you wish with little or no risk of physical reprecussions has had a big affect on young people IMO. Coupled with the availability of violent and/or adult content media does help the situation.

    Leading onto 3) as multimedia and gaming becomes the number one form of entertainment for children, less and less children take up sports and outdoor training and entertainment. Despite the physical negatives of this are the emotional and psychological downsides. Sport and other activities such as martial arts and scouts etc. have the benefit of teaching children values such as fair play and teamwork at the same time as providing kids valuable exercise. Without activities such as sport, children experience less time learning these values and more time secluded in their own ‘virtual’ world where there’s the ability to create your own persona with less risk of reprecussions or harm than in the real world.

    And lastly, a change in family structure and ties, and traditional values. Parents in many countries spend so much time and money in the modern, fast-paced world to make ends meet and provide for their family, that they’re often left without time to actually spend with their family. Extended families and support networks have mostly been replaced by nuclear families with less, little or no support networks. Kids in turn look outside for role models, often finding less than stellar individuals to look up to.

    IMO, this cycle with continue until societies across the developed world realise children need discipline and boundaries both of their emotional benefit and maturity, and for civil society’s benefit as a whole.

    Spare the rod and spoil the child.

    Steps off the soapbox.

  • http://forum.koreansentry.com Koreansentry

    Hang these two idiots! That’s all I can say.
    South Korea should reinstate hardline approach and execution for all sexual predators.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    ElCanguro, I can remember a time when I would have called you a simpleton and spouted a bunch of nonsense about your inability to think progressively.

    Now, having lived in both Korea and the west, and seen first-hand Korean systems that have a sense of discipline and ones that don’t, I have to say that you’re absolutely spot-on correct. You really should submit your comment as an opinion piece to the KT or KH (yeah they’re both rubbish but what the hell).

  • http://bensmatrix.wordpress.com/ ElCanguro

    Cheers, Yu Bum Suk. Part of me was cringing as I read over what I wrote – just a few years back I would have barfed myself at what I wrote.

    But, these days after my seven years in Korea and visits back home where young folk are increasingly conceited, rude and arrogant, I honestly believe that societies have taken their eye off their the ball for the past few decades and are reaping what they have sown for having done so.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #34,

    When writing, an author must decide which information must be shared and which is a given. Since this blog concentrates on Korea and many of its readers are American, it didn’t seem necessary to mention population.

    Besides, that’s probably not why you wrote that comment, was it?

  • SomeguyinKorea

    ElCanguro,

    About your first two point…Corporal punishment is alive and well in South Korea.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    SomeguyinKorea,

    Actually, it’s interesting that with attempts to abolish it and teachers increasingly reluctant to use it that we’re also seeing a increase in youth crime. Of course there may be many other factors at work, but its reduction over the past decade or so doesn’t have a lot of fruit to bear, it would seem.

  • slim

    “It’s a well-known fact that the US media sensationalizes crime in order to attract an audience, and does so every chance it gets.”

    I still think you are shooting from the hip here, as is your wont.

    When crimes are spectacular, shocking, unique or representative of a particularly dangerous trend, straightforward factual coverage might SEEM sensational. Placing a priority on major crimes over minor ones is not the same as ignoring them.

    Here in Washington, DC, a former murder capital of the U.S. that has fallen a bit in those rankings, heinous or shocking crimes will get front page coverage as well as analysis of social factors. But on inside pages the crime blotters cover lesser incidents. Websites will allow even finer grain coverage.

    I’d rather see crime well-covered than covered up.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    Sonagi, there are an estimated 40 million illegal immigrants… the US Government has published several sets of conflicting data. Don’t assume all are Mexican or Latino. 3 of the 6 picked up in the Ft Dix Bomb Plot were from Serbia/Kosovo.

    You don’t lie here. You don’t see it. There have been as many as 10 illegal Koreans at a church in Sherman, TX, a town not known for a large Asian population…

    20 in Federal Prisons vs. a smaller amount in State Prisons may be true; but the fact is that not all are correctly ID’d and you merely sound like an apologist for those who pick and choose which laws to obey… the same sort of behavior as the CEOs of Enron, Worldcom, etc…

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    They’re not mutually exclusive — why can’t we have both?

    Pursuing both to the fullest extent costs too much.

  • exit86

    It has a great deal to do with a total lack of enforcement of laws, followed by a
    lack of effective prosecution and punishment. This case is a perfect example.
    Will these young men be tried as adults? Obviously “No”–though they were adult enough to be able to commit the crime (in terms of sexual maturity).
    What will the punishement be? What color hospital clothes will the boys and/or their families don to influence an even lighter sentence if convicted?
    It is an absolute farce. I would advise the K apologists here to take off their 24/7 nationalist goggles (or just move to South Korea) in order to see this.

    Stay in S.Korea for a while and you witness this complete lack of law enforcement
    on a daily basis. #35′s playground story is a perfect example. The simple fact of the matter is that most cops in S.Korea are lazy and lacking in respect by the people. Why the heck do you think they are nicknamed “새”/”참새”??????
    Its f’ing pathetic! How many times have I seen fat 45-year old K.men yelling at cops for stopping them for traffic violations?

    You can moan about US incarceration rates all you want folks. Funny that
    a lot of you here live in the US and don’t even have to think about worrying about having these people on your streets, because . . . they are locked up–being punished for their crimes.

    Like it or not–no matter what some here think admitting this does to S. Korea’s image–S.Korean law is extremely weak.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Will these young men be tried as adults? Obviously “No”–though they were adult enough to be able to commit the crime (in terms of sexual maturity).

    Please tell me how trying them as adults would have stopped them from committing the crime.

    The simple fact of the matter is that most cops in S.Korea are lazy and lacking in respect by the people. Why the heck do you think they are nicknamed “새”/”참새”?

    Right, because “pigs” or “po-po” originate from none other than total respect.

    You can moan about US incarceration rates all you want folks. Funny that a lot of you here live in the US and don’t even have to think about worrying about having these people on your streets, because . . . they are locked up–being punished for their crimes.

    Have you looked at US crime rate? Again, homicide rate in America is by far the highest among all industrialized countries.

  • exit86

    TK: I wish we could pull a Marty McFly and go back in time to change things–keep wishing.
    Which animal has more power???? A BIG fat pig or an insignificant, next-to-nothing sparrow?
    Yup, and sleep soundly tonight knowing that most of those who have murdered
    in your area are locked up. Those who haven’t been caught hopefully will be in the near future, and those piggies who had to put in a few extra hours
    to find them and catch them ain’t gonna be too happy about all that time lost away from the donut shop.

    (PS. I come from a family of cops. “Pig” or “Police Officer” they all worked their asses off to keep the streets safe. )

    Also, a “crime rate” figure requires arrests and prosecutions. No arrests, no reported crime. No prosecutions, no reported crime. Traffic violations in S. Korea are not officially considered a problem by the government. Guess
    why.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    I wish we could pull a Marty McFly and go back in time to change things–keep wishing.

    Ok, I will clarify the question — how would trying these two shitbags as adults prevent similar future crimes?

    Which animal has more power???? A BIG fat pig or an insignificant, next-to-nothing sparrow?

    You got your slang wrong. It’s 짭새, not 참새. And 짭새 has nothing to do with a bird — it is a bastardization of the word 잡쇠, i.e. “catcher”. So by your logic that slang terms denote a level of respect for the law in a society (which I do not subscribe to,) Koreans at least considers the police humans, while in America the police are animals.

    Also, a “crime rate” figure requires arrests and prosecutions. No arrests, no reported crime. No prosecutions, no reported crime. Traffic violations in S. Korea are not officially considered a problem by the government. Guess why.

    That’s why I focus, over and over again, on homicide rate. Definition of “crime” may differ by country, but the definition of “homicide” is hard to change — because you need a dead body. And again, American homicide rate is the highest by far among industrialized countries (and more than double of Korea,) even with the highest incarceration rate, again by far, among industrialized countries. So PLEASE tell me how longer prison sentences deters crimes. I am all ears.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    homicide –> intentional homicide

  • slim

    Nationmaster is a useful site for comparative stats — in particular the relevant per capita data. This indeed shows that commenters indicting Korea from a U.S. perspective are on mighty thin ice when it comes to crime. (Traffic safety and white collar crime are probably another matter)

    Anecdotally, Korean police do seem lazy and incompetent — or at least unprofessional — compared to counterparts elsewhere in the rich world, but I don’t know how to compare this. Perhaps the authority issue flows from Korea not long ago being a police state with rule BY law, not OF law.

    Personally, I don’t think the Marmot’s guestbloggers have Robert’s “touch” when it comes to choosing meaningful, stimulating fare to post. (And I don’t mean just T&A or interracial dating stuff) To me, there is not quite enough in this thread’s (albeit vile) crime that says anything particular about Korea per se. By contrast, Breen vs Samsung and the online suicide pact story have very strong Korean elements to them, IMHO. Elephants to North Korea practically writes itself as a post.

    Again, IMHO, Kushibo (minus the puns and many of the groaner witticisms) would be a great addition to the roster here. Well-informed and engaged on Korea and its region, prolific, readable, a good lateral thinker and fair-minded to a fault about Korea.

  • NetizenKim

    Again, IMHO, Kushibo (minus the puns and many of the groaner witticisms) would be a great addition to the roster here. Well-informed and engaged on Korea and its region, prolific, readable, a good lateral thinker and fair-minded to a fault about Korea.

    I second this notion. His blog doesn’t get much traffic despite all his attempts to be as interesting as possible. He would be more appreciated here. Also, he seems to have recovered from his past bout of cross-gender schizophrenia (not that I find anything wrong with that), so there’s that too.

  • exit86

    TK: Never said anything about longer prison terms. Where did you pull that one out of?

    You also said “Have you looked at US crime rate?”

    K.Slang: Ummm. . . have you never heard the term “새” used as “bird” and “cop” in Korea . . . oh wait, you don’t live in Korea. My bad.
    Could it also be that 참새 and 짭쇠/새 are near-homonyms used interchangeably–a common feature of slang–particularly by those lacking in the proper etymological education of the terms they commonly employ?

    Effective and well-publicized punishment will definitely make a few
    people think. Wish it could stop murder, but what can? Letting folks off easy for coming to court in a wheelchair definitely ain’t gonna solve the problem.

    And another thing, where was the apartment security guard?
    Oh wait, those guys don’t guard anything. The one in my building guards
    his chair faithfully. Gotta love the enforcement of rules!

  • paloka

    Ok, I will clarify the question — how would trying these two shitbags as adults prevent similar future crimes?

    well giving them longer sentences, like life in prison prevents them from being on the streets. rapists have the highest rate of repeat offense. remember the case a couple months ago about a cab driver who raped and killed two women in korea, he was convicted of rape before and got a light sentence. If he was given a longer sentence he wouldn’t be on the streets and the two girls would still be alive. Or lets take the case of the little girl that was raped and eventually died a couple months ago that made the government rethink their lenient sentence for child rapists. the person who committed the crime was a convicted child rapists who was given a light sentence, now if he was given a harsher sentence for his first offense that girl would be alive.
    the police in korea is a joke unless they decide to actually do some policing crime will continue to rise. also the government has to start throwing the book at criminals.
    does anyone have any update on what the government has done about the laws on child rapists?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Kushibo has placed an odd self imposed exile on himself from TMH. From what I understand, most of his antagonists are not even frequent commenters anymore.

  • http://pawikirogii.blogspot.com pawikirogii

    i’m surprised you would spend so much time on this guy, tk. let the knight think what he needs to think. fact is, korea doesn’t need a para-military police force. america does. nuff said.

  • http://pawikirogii.blogspot.com pawikirogii

    there’d no interest in the lacrosse crime if the perpetrator and victim were black. that’s what most of us colored folk think so we’ll just have to disagree.

    you sure broke your silence pretty quick there, slim.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Never said anything about longer prison terms. Where did you pull that one out of?

    Right here, when you said: “It has a great deal to do with a total lack of enforcement of laws, followed by a lack of effective prosecution and punishment. … What color hospital clothes will the boys and/or their families don to influence an even lighter sentence if convicted?”

    Ummm. . . have you never heard the term “새” used as “bird” and “cop” in Korea?

    I have. But 새 used to denote a “cop” is a contraction of 짭새, not from any kind of bird.

    Could it also be that 참새 and 짭쇠/새 are near-homonyms used interchangeably–a common feature of slang–particularly by those lacking in the proper etymological education of the terms they commonly employ?

    No. 참새 to denote the police, to the extent the word is used, is a further derivation from 짭새. It has nothing to do with any bird, just like calling an ugly woman a 호박꽃 actually has nothing to do with flowers.

    Effective and well-publicized punishment will definitely make a few people think.

    THAT’s your entire argument that more punishment = less crime? I’m done with you then.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    i’m surprised you would spend so much time on this guy, tk. let the knight think what he needs to think.

    I was bored. And yes, now I’m done.

  • slim

    @57. I’d say if an elite black college athlete at a prominent university, in football or basketball, killed his girlfriend, it would be widely debated. The issue at UV, to be clear, is the alleged free pass on drunkenness and violent behavior given to athletes. Those who bring race into this particular argument are either agenda driven or clueless and do not advance the debate.

    My policy of silence is related to this commenter’s personal attacks.

  • Sonagi

    there are an estimated 40 million illegal immigrants…

    Please provide a link to an independent authority with no clear bias for or against illegal immigration, and I will gladly revise my view.

    20 in Federal Prisons vs. a smaller amount in State Prisons may be true; but the fact is that not all are correctly ID’d and you merely sound like an apologist for those who pick and choose which laws to obey… the same sort of behavior as the CEOs of Enron, Worldcom, etc…

    You’re dragging Enron and Worldcom into this? *groan* The distinction between the percentage of prisoners in federal prisons versus all prisons is a factual clarification with no evaluation or judgment, hence, no basis for labeling me an apologist, even if you dispute the accuracy of the statistics.

  • gbnhj

    Kushibo never offered any meaningful apology for what he did – actually, he never offered any apology at all. I agree with those who say that he’s knowledgeable, opinionated, and communicates well, but he’s also lying and deceitful. Until he’s willing to face those of us who remember and explain /apologize for what he did, I wouldn’t like to see him here as a guest blogger.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    Guys, trying them as adults and publicly naming and shaming them might make some other little teenage punk think, hmmm, maybe raping a girl and then pushing her off a roof wouldn’t be worth-while.

  • exit86

    Ha! You are a riot “The Korean”!

    Keep waving that flag.

    I’ll hold down the fort here in the place you, this “pawi” clown, and several other
    of the ever-so-loyal South Korean posters on this board view as their sacred homeland–though none of you love it enough to actually [gulp!] live here.

    Have a great day computer dorks!

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    exit86,

    I believe pawi and TheKorean are U.S. citizens.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    … so that would technically not make them “South Koreans.” From a technical sense.

  • exit86

    Do they know that?

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    First, make a false argument about an entire country based on a shallow and incorrect understanding. When it gets called out, just keep arguing that it is possible. When it gets shut down completely, ignore. When all else fails, engage in personal attacks and run away.

    Standard operating procedure here, it seems.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    I’m sure they do… besides… making comments on a blog mostly about a declared American ally is hardly grounds for treason.

    So someone might make pro-South Korea comments on a blog? Does that make a person less American? It’s not like anyone who comments here is constructing IEDs for use in Afghanistan or building homemade bombs for use at Times Square. Exit86… I think you just need to chill.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    gbnhj,

    I really can’t say as I wasn’t a frequent commenter or even lurker at the time that all happened w/Kushibo. All I can judge by is the quality of his current blog.

  • Sonagi

    Guys, trying them as adults and publicly naming and shaming them might make some other little teenage punk think, hmmm, maybe raping a girl and then pushing her off a roof wouldn’t be worth-while.

    Sounds good, but people who commit this sort of violent crime are unable to control impulses and don’t think about getting caught. These two sound sociopathic. The only thing to do is lock them up for as long as possible and watch them carefully once they get out.

  • dogbertt

    Kushibo never offered any meaningful apology for what he did – actually, he never offered any apology at all. I agree with those who say that he’s knowledgeable, opinionated, and communicates well, but he’s also lying and deceitful. Until he’s willing to face those of us who remember and explain /apologize for what he did, I wouldn’t like to see him here as a guest blogger.

    Robert currently lists him as a “contributor”.

    Not sure what name he’s contributing under tho.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    Sonagi, if I incorrectly identified you as a supporter of those who violate immigration laws for financial gain, I apologize.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    Conservative but not anti-legal-immigration

    hxxp://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2010/05/in_counting_ill.php

    hxxp://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-political-commentary/2010/04/arizona-illegal-aliens-and-immigration-reform.html

    hxxp://hubpages.com/hub/20millionillegalalienswhoistoBLAME

    hxxp://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/LiveWire/74754

    hxxp://conservativetimes.org/?p=1539

  • hamel

    Please provide a link to an independent authority with no clear bias for or against illegal immigration, and I will gladly revise my view.

    And then please produce the Easter Bunny, Lord Maitreya, and a virgin Playboy centerfold. Lol.

  • hamel

    As to the debate about Korean attitudes towards law enforcement, have a look at recent Korean movies that have had cops as main characters.

    I wish we had Darcy Paquet or Nigel D’Sa here to give us a definitive list, but I will get the ball rolling:

    The Chaser (추격자) : police made to look incompetent and unprofessional
    Mother (마더): police made to look incompetent and unprofessional
    Old Boy: police look incompetent
    Memories of Murder (살인의 추억): police use unethical methods to try to extract confessions, going so far as to make one suspect dig his own grave. In the end, the crimes remain unsolved.
    Samaritan Girl (사마리아): underage prostitute’s cop father uses extra-legal means to avenge his daughter’s death.
    Save the Green Planet (지구를 지켜라): one detective gets killed by bees; others shoot the only guy who can save the planet earth at the end of the film.

    Now these are just the ones that spring to mind. There might be other recent Korean films in which the police are shown in a good light acting professionally to solve crimes and protect the weak, but I just can’t think of any. (That doesn’t mean I don’t believe they exist.)

    Can anybody provide a more complete picture?

  • http://populargusts.blogspot.com/ bulgasari

    This article suggests that the rate of violent crime among teens has fallen over the last 20 years:
    http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/06/23/2009062300292.html

    Perpetrator profiles have also changed. Until 1987, first-time offenders accounted for 70 percent of violent crime. But in 2007, criminals with at least three previous convictions accounted for 49 percent. The average age of suspected criminals has also risen. In 1987, more than 50 percent of those committing violent crimes were teenagers, but in 2007, more than half of them were those in their 30s and 40s born in the 1960s and 70s.

  • hamel

    Bulgasari: thanks for those stats. They are really interesting. Of course, you would have to balance that with Korean society ca. 1987 being quite different to now (less absolute poverty).

    But still, food for thought. I don’t know how to reconcile that with increasing reports of wayward youths and random senseless violence perpetrated by teenagers (like the boy who killed a girl because she was using the public phone booth too long while he was waiting).

  • Sonagi

    Check out this collection of South Korean population pyramids from 1990 to 2010 here and notice where the bars bulge out in 1990 and 2010. The page might be a little slow to load. The changes in crime statistics noted in Bulgari’s link probably owe more to demographic changes than anything else. Teenagers are responsible for a smaller share of criminal activity because they comprise a smaller percentage of the population today compared to 1987. If one wanted to show that teenage crime rates have actually fallen, one would need to compare teen crime rates for 1987 and now, i.e., 8 violent crimes per 1,000 teenagers in 1987 versus 5 violent crimes per 1,000 teenagers in 2009.

  • Sonagi

    spelling correction: Bulgasari

  • R. Elgin

    I do not believe reports of falling violent crime statistics amongst youth whatsoever.
    Too many married Korean women here tell me that they are afraid of verbally chastizing misbehaving middle-school students because they are afraid of being attacked or having something bad done to their property in the middle of the night. I have heard from enough women and seen enough in my neighborhood to know that the opposite is more likely.

  • http://populargusts.blogspot.com/ bulgasari

    This should be of interest – a blog about crime in Korea:
    http://ataglance.wordpress.com/2006/12/24/violent-crime/

  • hamel

    I am with Elgin. This is what I hear too. Civic-mindedness in Korea among teenagers has gone down in Korea over the last decade, not up.

  • bumfromkorea

    @ Hamel

    Public Enemy (공공의 적) (2002)
    Another Public Enemy (공공의 적2) (2005)
    Public Enemy Returns (공공의 적 1-1) (2008)

    Cops: Good, hardworking blue-collar guys who don’t get paid enough to do what they have to do.

    Investment Brokers & CEOs: Heartless inhumane vampires feasting on the flesh of the poor, innocent proletariats.

    :D

  • hamel

    @bumfromkorea: great! Thanks for that. I knew there had to be something.

    I have another one:
    Wild Card (와일드 카드 )

    Here is a review:

    By now I’ve seen enough Korean cop movies to realize that, like their American counterparts, the Korean cop genre has its own conventions. They are: the establishment and furtherance of social hierarchy even when it comes to cops and criminals; the lack of firearms unless absolutely necessary; and cop as bully, physically abusing everything in sight because, frankly speaking, society not only allows him to, but expects him to. You see, shooting a crook is bad, but smashing his head in with a baseball bat — well, that’s a gray area.

    At the end of the film, yes, the cops get the bad guys, but only by breaking the rules.

  • Extra Korea

    @ #53/Slim

    Personally, I don’t think the Marmot’s guestbloggers have Robert’s “touch” when it comes to choosing meaningful, stimulating fare to post. (And I don’t mean just T&A or interracial dating stuff) To me, there is not quite enough in this thread’s (albeit vile) crime that says anything particular about Korea per se. By contrast, Breen vs Samsung and the online suicide pact story have very strong Korean elements to them, IMHO. Elephants to North Korea practically writes itself as a post.

    I think that you need to take off the rose-coloured glasses. As of this writing, seven of the last eight posts have been written by guest bloggers, and the one that is by Mr. Koehler is an Open Thread. The story about elephants and North Korea was written by Mr. Neff. And no one here has written a post about the suicide pacts. And what on earth does this post have to do with Korea? Without the under-appreciated guest bloggers, there wouldn’t be much of a blog.

    Personally, I think Mr. Neff writes the best posts here. He doesn’t just post one link and then block-quote whole swaths of text. Mr. Neff, I, for one, very much appreciate your work.

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