It seems every couple of months we see this – another claim that foreigners are committing more and more crimes. According to the opening sentence for this Korea Times’ article:
The number of foreigners arrested for violent crimes is increasing at a faster rate than their growth as a proportion of the population, according to the latest government statistics.
I guess this is what Evan Ramstad was referring to in the first sentence of his WSJ article:
An often-heard gripe in South Korea’s expat community is that South Korean media pay outsized attention to crimes by foreigners, especially those by English-language teachers in schools and hagwons (after-school tutor centers).
It is truly interesting to note the differences in the figures given in these two articles.
The KT article:
The number of foreigners arrested for murder, robbery, rape, theft and assault reached 8,086 last year, up 22.2 percent from 6,615 in 2008, according to figures that Rep. Moon Hak-jin of the main opposition Democratic Party obtained from the National Police Agency (NPA).
The number of foreigners rose by 8.85 percent from 1.16 million in 2008 to 1.26 million in 2010, according to statistics provided by the Korea Immigration Service.
The steepest rise occurred in robbery, for which 221 were arrested last year, up from 133 in 2008. The number of rape offenses also soared from 114 to 156 last year, while that of assault perpetrators rose from 4,940 to 5,885.
In 2010, the data shows, police around the country charged 1.8 million South Koreans with crimes, about 3.8% of the overall population of 48 million. By contrast, 33,586 non-Koreans were charged with crimes, about 2.7% of the country’s foreign population of 1.26 million.
The biggest foreigner group, the approximately 610,000 Chinese people in South Korea, fell right on that average, with a 2.7% crime rate.
The second-biggest group, the 127,000 Americans in the country, had a crime rate of 1.6%.
The third-biggest group – Vietnamese, with 103,000 people in South Korea – stood at 2.6%.
This may cause Mr. Marmot to cringe:
What group of foreigners had the highest crime rate? The approximately 30,000 Mongolians in South Korea, with just over 1,800 charged with a crime in 2010, for a rate of 6%.