Extra! Korea

April 1, 2010

Must Read: Critic tried to silence blogger Brian by siccing Immigration on him

Filed under: censorship, expatriates — extrakorea @ 1:24 pm

Brian (formally) in Jeollanam-do said before that he had a big announcement coming up, one that he had been sitting on because of Korea’s libel laws (Even if what you write is verifiably true, you can still be sued. [Edit/Update: You can also get a criminal record.]). This must be it. Be sure to read his post first.

Brian isn’t the only one whom disgruntled Koreans have tried to silence through ugly methods. Members of the group Anti-English Spectrum tried to get author Scott “King Baeksu” Burgeson fired for writing a book that had some criticisms of Korea.

Also, Koreans have been silenced by other Koreans. Most notably, the Korean government itself arrested a blogger called “Minerva.” That so many people would blindly follow an anonymous blogger is an indictment of the educational system of this country. That the government would arrest someone for expressing his opinion is an indictment of the government’s mindset. It’s no wonder that South Korea was recently named an “enemy of the internet.”

Of course, expatriates have targeted other expats. One guy, after being banned from the Marmot’s Hole comments section, tried to get said blogger in trouble with his boss. There is also an expat blogger who has an unhealthy obsession with Brian. However, in my opinion, these are different. The guy who got banned is clearly mentally ill. The expat blogger may or not also be certifiable, but he is certainly an alcoholic as well as a negligent, lazy teacher. The Koreans, on the other hand, are not crazy (at least not in the conventional sense). They know what they are doing, which is exploiting the legal confines that expatriates must live within to silence them. (Blogger Kushibo says that he has also been targeted by, I believe, other expatriates. I don’t know much about it, so I can’t comment.)


  1. I missed that about Scott. A great little summation and some good balance. When I hosted the Seoul Survivors podcast, we made it a point to go only by first names and not even identify where we recorded the podcast. I always felt “player hater” expats (the kind that attack Joe as some kind of Uncle Tom whenever he scores some good press) were more dangerous than Koreans who might take our jokes about fan death and stupid Korean wedding traditions the wrong way. But then not many Koreans are hip to podcasting. But blogs are way easier to find and it only takes one to alert the Korean ranter sphere.

    Comment by Puffin Watch — April 1, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

    • In my opinion, expatriates who attack other expats usually fall into one of two categories:

      1. mentally ill

      2. can’t stand seeing other expats rise above mediocrity

      As I said above, Koreans who attack expats are exploiting the fact that foreigners on E-2 visas must live within very narrow confines. As one commenter put it:

      I’m surprised the article didn’t mention the absurd restrictions on E-2 visa holders. We are legally allowed to have a (highly restricted) job, a bank account and a residence: anything else is “bonus.” Everything from “Kickin’ It In Gumcheon” to having a blog to expat rock bands is technically illegal.

      Comment by extrakorea — April 3, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

  2. Just a little clarification–you can not only get sued in Korea for saying the truth, you can get a criminal record. Korea is one of the last democracies with criminal libel still on the books. When I got in trouble with libel, it wasn’t a civil suit. It was a criminal investigation, involving being interrogated at the police station–just for explaining how to take your school to the labor board.

    Comment by ZenKimchi — April 4, 2010 @ 1:54 am

    • And this, friends, is why I blog anonymously.

      Comment by extrakorea — April 4, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

  3. Brian never said where(city/province) the initial Immigration phone call was from. I may not have asked either but if it was from Seoul, I doubt the Seoul Immigration would’ve been able to convince the Immigration office where Brian lived/Jeollanam-do to come in for an investigation. It sounds like it was completely Seoul driven and Brain shouldn’t have had to go to Seoul for the investigation(IMO). I don’t see why the Immigration office where Brian lived couldn’t have conducted the investigation. I would’ve liked to have heard what the Immigration office would’ve done had he told them he wouldn’t go to Seoul but would go to his local office. Were there charges filed against Brian and court proceedings followed, I do believe he would’ve had to go to Seoul/the area where the complaint was received. Nonetheless, Kang, Shin-who is a smuck.

    Comment by Tbonetylr — April 5, 2010 @ 3:16 am

    • As Kushibo said here:

      Generally speaking, it’s best not to inconvenience or piss off the authorities investigating you, even when you’ve done nothing wrong.

      Comment by extrakorea — April 6, 2010 @ 11:06 am

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