Don’t Celebrate Too Soon if You Get an Unexpected Bank Transfer
The Supreme Court has ruled that it is embezzlement to withdraw and spend money mistakenly placed into your bank account.
Justice Kim Neung-hwan of the Supreme Court ruled that 49-year old Mr. Jo, indicted for stealing money mistakenly placed in his bank account, overturned the trial court’s ruling that he was innocent of embezzlement by finding that he had committed the crime of conversion.
Mr. Jo, who operates a business in Hong Kong, received three million Hong Kong dollars into his bank account due to a mistake by a worker from company D on June 4th, 2008, and immediately withdrew it, leading to his indictment.
Embezzlement, which means appropriating property that a stranger has entrusted to you, is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 15 million won, and conversion, which means appropriating property that is no longer in the control of a stranger, is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to three million won.
The trials and appeals courts sentenced him to one year in prison, ruling that “the mistakenly-transferred money was mislaid property, and Mr. Jo had no relationship with company D, so he was not a voluntary bailee and so did not commit embezzlement, but rather conversion.”
However, the Supreme Court overturned the trial court, holding that “if money is mistakenly placed into a particular bank account, by operation of law a bailee relationship arises between the transferor and transferee so that if the money is taken and used then embezzlement is committed and even f there no particular relationship the situation is the same.”
Can You See Dead People? Because This Woman’s Mother Says She Couldn’t
Police are investigating after a woman in her twenties was found dead in an apartment in Busan with her mouth and hands bound with tape.
The woman’s mother had been living with her daughter, but spent four days in the home unaware that her daughter was dead.
At around 11:10 on the morning of December 27, 26-year old Ms. Hong was found dead in her room in the apartment in the Dadae-dong neighborhood of Busan by her 41-year old boss Mrs. Bae and local police.
At the time of the dscovery, Ms. Hong’s hands and mouth were bound with tape and she was under a blanket, and there was no evidence anyone else had been there.
Mrs. Bae said, “Ms. Hong did not come to work starting on the 23rd, and she didn’t answer the phone, so I called the police... with the police I went into Ms. Hong’s home and opened her door, and Ms. Hong was in the room, dead.”
Police determined from an inspection of the body that Ms. Hong may have been strangled and the tape showed signs of having been breathed, leading them to believe that she had been murdered on the 23rd.
Ms. Hong’s mother, 57-year old Mrs. Jeong, had been living in the same apartment with Ms. Hong, but told police that she had been unaware of her death, saying, “most of the time I didn’t get along with my daughter so we never worried about each other.”
Police said that they are attempting to locate 53-year old Mr. Lee, the common-law husband of Ms. Jeong who had been living with mother and daughter for the past five years. He disappeared on the 21st after saying he was going to work at a factory in Daegu.
Police are concentrating their investigation on the fact that on the 23rd, the day Ms. Hong is believed to have been murdered, Ms. Hong received her final phone call from Mr. Lee, who was then in the Saha-gu area, and on an analysis of the apartment building’s security camera tapes.
Is N. Korea Seeing More Market Economics?
Seo Jae-jin, head of the Korea Institute for National Unification (통일연구원), said on December 24 that “the form of North Korean socialism has already begun transitioning to a market economy… this must be actively promoted for North-South reunification.”
Mr. Seo said at a lecture sponsored by the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation (민족화해협력범국민협의회) that “as North Korean markets develop and market economics expands, a ‘second society’ has arisen in which people can live without state assistance… although there have currency reforms aimed at restoring the North Korean won, it has become vulnerable to neglect.”
He argued that “the large aid from our government’s Sunshine Policy created in North Korea a belief that they could survive without reforms… that is how aid and economic agreements did nothng but sustain the North Korean system.”
He said of the ascension of heir apparent Kim Jong-un that “belief in the need for measurements of the changes in a difficult to control society is shown in the drive for nuclear weapons… power passing from Kim Jong-il to his son is of little meaning, but if the heir is ousted or a new regime appears then there could be significant progress towards reunification.”
He said that “when you consider the present situation in North Korea or the conditions in international society, if reunification is not achieved in the next 10 years then there is a high possibility of division being permanent… the North-South problem must be seen not through the paradigm of ‘peace vs. war’ but as ‘unification vs. permanent division’.”
He added that “it is ‘North Korean sinophilia’ that leads to a solution to the North Korean nuclear problem, and as international society renews sanctions the North Korean economy will continue to be poor.”
N.K. Refugees Caught Smuggling Drugs
Incheon police announced on December 20 that it arrested three North Korean refugees, including 48-year-old Mr. Kim on charges of smuggling North Korean-made methamphetamine and two others, including 30-year old Mr. Kang on charges of purchasing and using it.
Police also arrested without detention three North Korean refugees who conspired with Mr. Kim and the others to smuggle the methamphetamine, and have sought arrest warrants for two gang members, including 42-year old Mr. Choi, for purchasing the drugs.
According to police, Mr. Kim and the other refugees arrived in the country in September carrying North Korean-made methamphetamine, and in order to do business they conspired with Mr. Choi and another gangster, then met with a Chinese drug dealer in a small inn in Yenzhi, China and purchased 420 grams of methamphetamine which they smuggled into the country on two occasions.
They also sold the methamphetamine to Mr. Choi, Mr. Kang, and four others on four occasions, netting 16 million won in illegal profits.
Investigators concluded that they purchased the drugs in China and concealed them in their underwear through Yeonan Wharf in Incheon.
Police are investigating whether they committed any other crimes and are searching for the two who purchased the drugs from Mr. Kim and the others.
The “Han River” Will Now be Called the “Hangang”
On December 29, the city of Seoul introduced new public names and facilities in the Han River parks to reduced confusion among citizens and domestic and overseas tourists.
First, the 12 city parks known as “Han River Citizens’ Park” will have “citizen” removed from their names and be known as “Han River Park #___.”
When the parks were established in the 1980s they were seen as being for “citizens” and that was placed in their names, but because today there is no need to emphasize that they are for citizens, the parks and entrances became known as “Han River Park” beginning in March of this year.
Additionally, Ttukseom Resort Station naturally became Ttukseom Han River Park.
The lower bank passages that link together the Han River, bound by streets and embankments, with the nearby areas have been called “rabbit holes” for their narrow size, but now they have a new name with a bright image.
The city promoted environmentally friendly lower bank passages in 2007, and gave them the native Korean word for “interchange” (나들목), meaning “a corner for crossing”.
The city specified that, in English, it is preferable that the Han should be called “Hangang (River)” rather than the more typical “Han River”.
The city emphasized that “Han River” is its proper name and explained that the Seoul City English expressions dictionary used the term “Hangang.”
2009 Sexual Assault Statistics Published in South Korea
Last year, nationwide, there were 5.1 rapes or attempted rapes per 1,000 adult women, and the vast majority of all sexual assault victims knew the faces of their attackers.
On December 28, the Ministry of Gender and Family (여성가족부) announced the results of its nationwide survey of 2,200 adult men and women aged 19 and over, conducted from August through October, and finding that 0.2% of the women reported experiencing rape and 0.4% reported experiencing attempted rape.
2.1% had experienced “severe sexual molestation” (meaning forcible touching such as sexual advances and fondling) and 3.3% had experienced “light sexual molestation”.
The survey found that theses rates were much higher than in 2007. Of 1,000 women, 2.2 (0.2%) had experienced rape or attempted rape; 4.7 (0.5%), severe sexual molestation; and 24.6 (2.5%), light sexual molestation.
The rate at which the crimes were reported to police also increased, as 12.3% of rapes and attempted rapes were reported (7.1% were in 2007) and 5.7% of severe sexual molestation was reported (5.3% in 2007).
U .S. Soldier Accused of Uploading False Yeonpyeong Island Image
Prosecutors in Seoul have forwarded to the US military an accusation that a 20-year-old Korean-American soldier, a private, uploaded a satellite photo of a bomb exploding in Baghdad, which he claimed to be a photo of the North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong Island. I’m not sure what the exact charge is, but 28 others have been arrested on similar grounds. Nineteen of them were diverted to a cyber-crime education program in consideration of their youth or the lightness of their offense.
Need a Virtual Girlfriend?
If so, and if you have an iPhone and $1.99 to spare, then Korean software developer Nabix has got your back. After installing their iPhone app, which is actually called “Honey It’s Me!” (I am not making that up), you will start receiving voice mails from your virtual girlfriend, whom you can name anything you like as long as it’s “Mi-na”.
English, Chinese, and Japanese translations are apparently coming soon. Also, there will be an Android version, so no worries about having to buying a new phone in order to escape the cold, cruel world by sharing a girlfriend with 80,000 other guys.
S. Korean High School Hit by TB, Superbacteria Spreading
At a high school in Gwangju, it was recently discovered that three students are infected with tuberculosis. Eight other students were found to be infected back in August for a total of 11 students, nine of whom are in the same homeroom.
In what I hope is an unrelated story, the government is investigating the possible spread of what is supposedly the country’s first discovery of highly antibiotic-resistant “superbacteria”, and now reports that it is possible there is more than one strain going around. Two more patients were discovered, making a total of 10 in just one week.
New Internet Cafe Death
A university student died after playing computer games in a PC bang [internet cafe] for 12 hours.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. on December 27, 19-year old Mr. Mun, a university student, suddenly collapsed in the PC bang in the Namwoe-dong neighborhood of Ulsan and was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Mr. Mun had arrived at approximately 2 a.m., went back to his home to eat at approximately 10:30 a.m., and returned to continue playing.
Police are investigating the cause of death on the basis of statements from witnesses and his family that Mr. Mun enjoyed action games.
North Koreans Celebrate Yeonpyeong Attack in Song
Well, well, well. A group of North Korean soldiers went on the radio recently to sing songs in celebration of the artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island. The songs were part of a larger celebration of Kim Jong-un’s ascension to power.
Temple May Have Been Arson Victim
Police in Busan suspect arson may have been the cause of the fire that damaged Beomeo-sa temple in Busan recently. You may now place your bets on what the fire-setter’s excuse will be. My money is on “excessive stress from high gambling debts.”