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Visiting the Korean Police
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The Korean Police?
I've got some experience and the Korean police aren't so bad
45%
 45%  [ 18 ]
I've got some experience and the Korean police really s**k
25%
 25%  [ 10 ]
I've been lucky enough never to visit the Korean police
17%
 17%  [ 7 ]
A foreigner I know well had a bad experience with the Korean police
12%
 12%  [ 5 ]
A foreigner I know well had an okay experience with the Korean police
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 40

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Cedar



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Location: In front of my computer, again.

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 8:12 am    Post subject: Visiting the Korean Police Reply with quote

In my time in Korea, I've had to visit the Korean police far too often. Sometimes to help a friend, sometimes because of my own issues. I thought I'd pass on some tips for dealing with the police and Korean police procedure.

1. If you need help, (even just directions) don't ask cops on the street. If they are in a car or on a motorcyle, they probably know your area, but the ones walking around are usually doing their military service, and don't know the area, much less the town. If you get in trouble on the street, and you see an ajumma selling some veggies and a pair of cops, the ajumma is going to be more helpful to you.

2. Traffic cops can usually be sweet talked if you are polite, smile, and didn't do anything too horribly wrong. Not speaking a word of Korean, even if you can, can be helpful.

3. There is no arguing with the speeding cameras, so just suck it up and memorize the cameras in your neighborhood.

4. If something is lost or stolen you MUST go to the small police station in the same dong (and if the dong as more than one part as in Daemyung 1-11 dong here in Daegu) then make sure you are in the same -number- as well as the same dong. One time I lost my wallet on the bus. Silly me, I went to the closest police station. I also did this one time with a foreigner I knew who got her bag lifted in downtown. You are only wasting your time if you go to the wrong station. Make sure where you are, find the correct, not the closest station. In general if ANYTHING bad happens you should first go to the small police station in that dong. But if it's a bigger deal, like assault, then you can go to where the police are able to deal with you.

5. In cases with two sides, you and them-- The police, contrary to justifiable paranoia are NOT going to only listen to the Korean. But, it is NOT their responsibility to provide translation. Being taken to the police station in Korea ALWAYS takes a long time. As soon as you know you are going to the police, call a friend, your boss, your ex-girlfriend... anyone who can translate for you. Do not hesitate to do this. If you don't, you are making your life much more difficult. Even if you are HIGHLY emberassed, you better call someone. And then, you can apologize to them later, give them a nice gift and all that. But, unless your Korean is VERY VERY VERY good, don't go to the police station without a translator.

The only time you should go to the police without a translator is when you are reporting a crime, such as a theft, a break-in, vandalism, etc. But never ever when there is "another side".

Please, however, don't think the cops won't listen to you. I actually did once successfully visit the cops, with the other guy eventually present (after they caught him), and no one to translate for me (and my Korean was four years worse than it is today). But, I was there for seven hours. And they were very patient. You can't count on them being patient. I stopped by with a box of drinks for them the next day. They deserved it.

6. Remember, in this country that sexism is present. Do not ever think you can "win" if you are a foreigner, going to the cops up against a girl (maybe you can against an ajumma, though). This means, if you are a foreign woman, unless you have his blood on your chin from biting off his ear, you can act like the poor weak little woman and they will believe it. That also means that a foreign man should do EVERYTHING possible to make sure a woman never ends up screaming at him from across the police station. Even if she is talking like a gutter rat, everyone knows the man is the aggressor and the woman the victim. In cases with two women, all is equal. You should have seen this couple of ajummas i saw hauled in one time! They had one woman in restraints with 5 cops holding her down, and the other woman was missing all four front teeth!!!!!

This also means, if you are a woman it's good to have a man to talk for you- cause the cops may have a hard time relating directly to you. You are emotional and upset. Your shepherding male, however, can listen to the common sense of the situation as laid out by the police.

7. There is no need to be overly emotional at the cop shop. No one is checking to see if you are acting properly outraged or properly damaged. In fact, they'd rather you go wash your face than sit there with evidence of a crime on your cheek. They'd much rather you seem the calm and reasonable one, and in the long run, being the calm and reasonable one is going to get you farther than seeming really "distraught".

8. Evidence: If someone beats you up or hurts you in any way (even if you know you aren't really hurt that bad) the proper method is to visit the hospital (normal hours not emergency room, they can't do it) and get completely checked out and treated. Then ask them for a paper to take to the cops. If you intend to get reimbursed by the other guy, then DO NOT USE YOUR INSURANCE. The paper will say in what way you were injured and how long it will take you to heal. This paper is VERY IMPORTANT to the Korean legal system. You will have to pay a fee of 10-20,000 won for them to issue you this paper.

If your house or vehicle has been damaged, then take photos, with something for scale in the shot (a hand, a pack of cigarettes). They can be bad photos. It is best if the cops take these shots for you, or if you take the shots with the cops present, when they are inspecting the crime scene. If they don't, ask them to use your camera. Or ask them to put their hand in the shot, while you take it.

9. Remember at all times that Korean cops have pretty hard schedules- a small force, huge population and they work 24on 24 off, month after month (until they get enough seniority). It's very wearing.

10. Korea has this system called "habi". That means, even if you don't charge the asshole, you can still get restitution for broken windows or whatever, or get your hospital bill paid. If someone says "habi" open up your ears. It's the best way to stay out of court. If you solve the situation through "habi" you can be done with the whole thing pretty darn fast. To receive it you usually have to go as far as the Gu police station (where you charge the person). If you are being charged, just pay your habi and suck it up, it's the easiest thing to do. You really need a Korean friend for this negotiation- how much should the habi be? Get help!

11. You know all those great martial arts classes you've been taking? Korea has a lot of martial artists, and a great martial arts tradition. The police consider someone with a fair amount of martial arts training to be sort of like someone weilding a club or a knife- very dangerous. Do not be aggressive unless you have to in order to save your life. However, if you just play hockey or whatever, no big problem. But all you martial arts folks- do not practice your new skills.

12. If the cops decide both parties are wrong, and you don't agree to resolve the issue- the cops can fine BOTH of you. This is a way for the police to make money and the courts not to get clogged. This is common with civil cases.

Damn there is probably more, but i need to sleep. And besides, i know most people think differently about the Korean cops and are going to post something totally different right away. But I am speaking from a lot of experience.
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hellofaniceguy



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: On your computer screen!

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best reponse I can add is this; in the unlikely event that you find yourself in the cop station for some violation, fighting, etc. DO NOT TALK to the cops at all. Say nothing! Keep your mouth closed is the BEST thing you can do. Whatever you say will be misunderstood and create more problems! Just tell the man that you won't say nothing. They can't force you to talk. Don't write anything either. It'll be misunderstood also.
Just wait until some who can interpert for you comes to help you. And if the person who interperts for you does not have a good command of English, then keep quiet.
You'll be spending a long time trying to resolve a problem at the police station. You're Embassy can't help you so don't even waste your time. Especially the American Embassy; they are a bunch of worthless fools only interested in a paycheque living in a foreign land. They don't believe in customer service.
Never throw the first punch in a fight. You lose under the law. And you'll pay lots of money! You'll always seen koreans trying to intimidate the other person into throwing the first punch. It's all about money.
Car accident? Keep quiet. Let the cops do their job. Say nothing. They can figure out what happen without you telling them. No matter what you tell them anyway, they will investigate.
By making statements you only create more problems. Unless you killed someone, pulled a robbery or something along those lines, the worst that can happen is deportation.
Say nothing unless you are fluent in korean.
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Cedar



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Location: In front of my computer, again.

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I should add, though it should go without saying: it makes a big difference if you are in the cop shop accusing or being accused. I've never been accused or doing anything wrong here...

Last edited by Cedar on Mon May 19, 2003 6:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kimcheeking
Guest




PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to say that Cedar has some good points. I had a little scrape in my car a couple of months back. Totally not my fault, I overreacted thinking the guy who hit me was trying to lie to the cops...

in the end my wife talked to the cops everything was straitened out nicely and the perp who hit me was a nice guy, I apologized to him for losing my cool. I basically was thinking - foreigner can't speak Korean let's screw him. It didn't happen I'm quite happy to report.
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Stunted Wookie



Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Sound Studio

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 9:06 pm    Post subject: pulled over Reply with quote

I got pulled over on Saturday (son's birthday) for pulling a U-turn ...in the spot for pulling U-turns I might add.

The cop waved me over and seemed quite excited that he 'got' a foreigner. The Koreans in the car were scared shitless of the police....haha

So he told me in English that I violated the traffic laws....I said 'no I didn't..the road has a big U turn sign there.'

He asked me if I was military (SOFA), I said no.
He asked me what my job was, I told him. (programer/ consultant)
He said 'ahh good job...have a nice day.'

I love the traffice cops.
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bjonothan



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello everyone!!! I found myself in the police station a few times in my first year in Korea. My own impression of the police there is that they are not real worried about doing much work.....from what I hear the pay is pretty low. About 1 - 1.3 mill. I found that unless you really need them, steer clear.....
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Len8



Joined: 12 Feb 2003
Location: Kyungju

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 12:15 am    Post subject: Visiting the Korean Police Reply with quote

There was an article in the Korean Herald a while back about a remark by the Korean Ambassador to Paraguay. I still have the article, and he happened to mention that in Korea they only way to get the police to really do anything for you is to bribe them. He didn't put it in exactly the same words, but that was the gist of it anyway. There was a flurry of responses on the internet by irrate koreans, saying that he shouldn't have shamed korea. They pretty much said he should not have told the truth, and that it would have been better if he had kept his mouth shut.
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richinkorea



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Location: Gawd Darn Hot and Sunny Arizona !

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post. Make sure you publish it with your other stuff !

Saving to HD now Smile
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The Lemon



Joined: 11 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Excellent post. Make sure you publish it with your other stuff !

Saving to HD now


Indeed. If we ever get our "keeper/read only" forum going, Cedar's post should be on page one. Thanks, Cedar.
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Howard Roark



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(according to my experiences so far) korean police are a joke! they're a bunch of cartoons. my boyfriend and i got pulled over once cause we were riding our scooter without helmets. there were 4 of them in the car, the guys in the back were chillin' out reading the paper. they asked us some questions like where we were from and what we were doing in korea. neither of us having work visas, we just did the whole "i don't understand" rountine. then my boyfriend said he was from turkey. they flipped!! "oh! turkey! football, worlda cupa!!". they shook his hand and offered us smokes. they chatted for a few minutes and took off.
another time we were driving through a check point, they all started yelling "hellooo" "nice to meet you".
they're so funny. how can you take them seriously?
on the other hand, if you ever happen to be in turkey, steer clear of police. turkish police redefine 'intimadating'. they're EVERYWHERE and they carry big guns, and they're likely to threaten you with anything to blackmail you.
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posco's trumpet



Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Location: Beneath the Underdog

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Last edited by posco's trumpet on Sat Dec 06, 2003 7:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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richinkorea



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Location: Gawd Darn Hot and Sunny Arizona !

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

posco's trumpet wrote:


Cops everywhere ride the line between being worthless p r i cks and complete @ssholes. Sure, I've met worse cops in NYC (more corrupt and more violent), the rural Southern US (more prejudiced) and various parts of Thailand (more blatantly corrupt and often plain psychotic), but pigs are pigs. A leopard can't change its spots, and a pig can't change its snout.



The problem with this philosophy is that as bad as it is now, it could always worse.

Police are an unfortunate side effect of civilization. Would you want to live in a community without them ?

Avoid the police, fine, but also recognize the benefits they provide.
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itaewonguy



Joined: 25 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2003 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korean cops = WORTHLESS IDIOTS!!!!

I have had many run ins with them.. they are so insecure its breathtaken..
I once didnt use respect form in the station, he came up to me and said you are under arrest, and put handcuffs on me,, hahahahhaha..
and then he wanted respect! I said you're dreaming!!!
you cant arrest me, I did nothing wrong.. this went on for hours..
and another time on the street we were having an argument with this local korean, the cops came past and just arrested me and put handcuffs on me, IM like HEY WTF!! he was like be quiet!! then a korean guy jumps in telling the cop that I was in the right.. the cop just takes the cuffs off and said you go!! GAA~

IDIOTS!!!

most of them wouldnt even know the rules, and local people are probably affraid to report them well not affraid just wouldnt know how..
raised from school that way I guess..

I hate cops!!!!
they were the kids who got beat up in school and rejected from all the girls... and had no mates... so now they think they are the most powerful people in the country!!
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Cedar



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Location: In front of my computer, again.

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2003 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm shamelessly adding another post to this thread to move it up to the top, cause I want people to read what I wrote. It's unfortunate, but you can run into problems here (as anywhere) and need the police, even if you would rather stay as far from them as possible. I just got to see them for the second time this week. They were very nice and polite. Never equate the walking cops who are just doing their military service with the career variety.
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The Lemon



Joined: 11 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since returning to Korea two years ago I've had four experiences/run-ins with the local police - #4 was today. In every case, they were amazingly polite and helpful. All were career police.

This morning my wife and I wanted to walk up Namsan tower but didn't want to carry our bags. We went into a nearby police station to ask if there were nearby lockers we could rent, and the officers first offered to keep our bags there, then after noticing my wife is 6 months preggo, insisted they drive us to the foot of the hill 2km away. All the while they were offering us drinks and sweets.

It was pretty cool - we got to ride through downtown Seoul in a police car as the officer gave us a brief tour of the area. Once at the foot of the hill, he was determined to flag down a car to take us to the top of the hill, but we stopped him as we really didn't mind walking.

Most impressive, and totally above and beyond the call of duty. The other encounters I've had with the local police have been similarly positive. I'm not saying they're all good, and I'm sure the bad experiences others have had are real. Just putting in a good word based on the consistently good service I've received from them both in Seoul and in Kwangju.

I think they've gotten a lot better in the last five years. Back in 96/97, I was randomly stopped and "carded" ("show us your passport please") while walking down the street on three separate occasions. I guess they don't do that much anymore.
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