Extra! Korea

June 30, 2009

Jang Ja-yeon’s former manager to be deported to Korea Friday

Filed under: actors/actresses, celebrities, crime, gender equality, suicide — extrakorea @ 6:46 am

Kim Sung-hoon, the former head of late actress Jang Ja-yeon’s management agency, is to be deported to Korea this Friday.
If you’d like to throw eggs at this piece of human filth, he’ll arrive at Incheon International Airport at 3:20 p.m., on Korean Air flight KE702.

June 29, 2009

Yonsei University professor wants another ex-president to commit suicide

Filed under: education, North Korea, politics, suicide — extrakorea @ 2:12 am

Kim Dong-gil, a professor at Yonsei University, is evidently going two-for-two, as far as progressive ex-presidents go. Earlier, he wrote that Roh Moo-hyun should commit suicide over a bribery investigation. Days later, ex-president Roh jumped off a cliff to his death.
Now professor Kim want Kim Dae-jung to kill himself because he believes that it’s the ex-president’s failed Sunshine Policy that has enabled North Korea to arm itself with nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The cherry on top of the icing on the cake is the way he phrased it: He told Kim Dae-jung “to throw himself off from the nearest cliff.” Very sensitive and empathetic.
I guess he doesn’t like progressives. One down (no pun intended), one to go, I suppose.

June 24, 2009

Japanese police arrest head of late actress Jang Ja-yeon’s management agency

Filed under: actors/actresses, celebrities, crime, gender equality, prostitution, suicide — extrakorea @ 3:13 pm

Japanese police officers have arrested Kim Sung-hoon, the former head of late actress Jang Ja-yeon’s management agency. You might recall that Kim is the lame excuse for a human being who beat up Jang if she refused to sleep with rich and powerful men who were old enough to be her father.

“It will take about two months for Kim to return to Korea,” a police officer said. “Once his arrival, we will resume the stalemated investigation into figures allegedly involved in the scandal.”

Following her death, police launched a large-scale investigation, pledging to discover who had received such nasty favors from the actress regardless of their social positions.

Police concluded the investigation in April. They booked nine people out of the 20 questioned but failed to identify who the late actress was forced to provide entertainment and sexual intercourse to.

None of the corporate figures and media executives suspected of having sex with the late Jang have been booked. At that time, police said they were unable to find concrete evidence to the claim that the late actress was forced to provide sex in completing their investigation.

Jang hanged herself at her house in Bundang, south of Seoul, on March 7.

A few days later, her agent disclosed a seven-page suicide note, supposedly written by Jang, which stated that a former agent had forced her to provide sex and entertainment to several VIPs, including CEOs of two print and online media organizations, program directors and a bank CEO. The other bigwigs allegedly include owners and presidents of chaebol.

June 18, 2009

Movie “Whispering Corridors 5: A Blood Pledge” receives 18+ rating because of suicide pact scene

Filed under: movies, suicide — extrakorea @ 4:03 am

If you’re familiar with Korean movies, you probably know that one of the most famous and successful series of movies has been “Whispering Corridors” and its many sequels: Memento Mori, Wishing Stairs, and Ghost Voice. (Though it’s not part of the series, Bunshinsaba is very similar.) All of them are horror movies that take place within girls’ high schools, and deal with topics that are often taboo. The first in the series outraged teachers because it depicted an enraged teacher beating up students. At that time, however, such things definitely existed and the movie merely portrayed something that the viewers were already familiar with (if not had actually experienced).
The fifth movie in the series, “A Blood Pledge,” has received an 18+ rating from the Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) because of a scene in which a group of schoolgirls pledge to commit suicide together. (Later in the movie, one of them does kill herself. Her ghost then begins to torment the other, surviving members for not following through on their promise.) The rating was given because of the fear that the scene would inspire copycat suicides (called the “Werther effect” in Korea) in young students. (One young woman did, in fact, commit a copycat suicide after ex-president Roh Moo-hyun killed himself.)


—> Here is a review of the movie. It’s not very positive, but then again, the author didn’t like any of the other three sequels very much either. I, on the other hand, thought that “Wishing Stairs” was a very well-made horror movie, so I still intend to see “A Blood Pledge” myself and make my own judgment.

—> Also, Korea Beat has translated an article which discusses the question: “Why do Korean ghosts always seem to be female?”

May 27, 2009

Police to reinvestigate Roh Moo-hyun’s death

Filed under: crime, hard to categorize, politics, suicide — extrakorea @ 1:18 am

According to the Chosun Ilbo, there are growing calls for the reinvestigation of ex-President Roh Moo-hyun’s death, after it was revealed that a bodyguard, Lee, who had claimed earlier to have been with Roh just before his final minutes, actually was not at the scene at the time of his death.

Based on the bodyguard’s initial testimony, a 94-man investigative team at South Gyeongsang Province police announced Sunday that Roh arrived at Owl Rock around 6:20 a.m., talked with Lee Byung-choon, the head of his security detail, for about 20 minutes, and jumped off the cliff at around 6:45 a.m.

But an official at a nearby temple where the memorial tablets of Roh’s parents are enshrined on Tuesday said someone who appeared to be Lee visited the temple at the time of Roh’s suicide. The temple is 200 m from Owl Rock.

Questioned again Monday, Lee reversed his initial testimony and said Roh told him to go to the temple. And under fresh questioning Tuesday night, Lee said he could not find Roh after sending away a mountain climber who approached the two.

From a high-profile suicide, to nuclear tests, to missile launches, to swine flu quarantines, to this, it’s never a dull moment here on the Korean Peninsula.


Yonhap News reports that there will, in fact, be a reinvestigation, seeing as how the bodyguard has changed his story at least twice (“I saw him jump,” “He sent me to the temple,” “I was escorting this other hiker away, and when I came back, he was gone.”).
This item caught my eye.

The security guard belatedly looked for the missing former president and spotted him at 6:45 a.m. The guard then carried Roh on his back to a car at the residence before rushing him to a nearby hospital,” said the commissioner.

Good Lord. When someone has fallen or been in a car wreck, you call 911 (or 119, in this case) and don’t move the person, or you might aggravate their injuries, especially neck injuries. Unfortunately, this kind of ignorance is the norm here. I’m very disappointed to see this lack of common sense even from a bodyguard to an ex-head-of-state. Such basic first aid should have been a required part of his training. And he carried him piggy-back, instead of with a fireman’s carry. Unbelievable. Actually, not really. This is Korea. T.I.K.

May 25, 2009

Roh Moo-hyun may inspire wave of copycat suicides

Filed under: celebrities, suicide — extrakorea @ 1:53 pm

The suicide of former president Roh Moo-hyun may inspire a wave of copycat suicides.

Early Sunday morning, a 38-year-old man surnamed Han tried to kill himself by slitting his wrist on the mountain path near Owl’s Rock on Mount Bongha, where the late president died, said police officials.

Once he started bleeding heavily, Han called for an ambulance and was transferred to a nearby hospital. He has now regained consciousness and is no longer in life-threatening condition, officials said.

Another 55-year-old man surnamed Shin called the police on Sunday morning to notify them of his plan to commit suicide over Roh’s death, according to the Gwangyang Police Station in South Jeolla Province.

The police tracked Shin’s mobile phone location and found him late that evening by a reservoir, attempting to end his life for the second time that day, after a first attempt that earlier ended in failure.

Others have committed suicide since, though they had not clearly cited him as the reason.

A 34-year-old man named Kim was found late Saturday night after hanging himself in his room, according to the Gwangju police.

Kim’s family said that he wrote a note on his computer just as Roh did soon after he saw the news on television, and left the house. Kim had been heavily in debt for some time.

May 23, 2009

Former President Roh Moo-hyun dead, left suicide note

Filed under: politics, suicide — extrakorea @ 1:12 am

According to Yonhap News Agency, the former president of South Korea, Roh Moo-hyun (Noh Moo-hyun), is dead.

Former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has died after falling down a mountain while hiking with an aide, police here said Saturday.
Police are trying to confirm whether the former president, recently involved in a corruption scandal, fell by accident or committed suicide.


The Korea Herald and Korea Times now have articles, but they don’t have much additional information.

Former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun died after falling down a mountain while hiking near his home with an aide, police in Gimhae, South Gyongsang Province said Saturday.

[ snip ]

The former president was immediately sent to Pusan National University Hospital at 7:05.
But he failed to recover from cerebral hemorrhage, Korea Broadcasting System said, quoting hospital sources.

Further Update:

According to Yonhap News, Roh left a suicide note.

Former President Roh Moo-hyun died after falling from a mountainside behind his residence early Saturday morning and left behind a brief suicide note, his lawyer said.

[ snip ]

“Roh left his home at 5:45 a.m. to go hiking. He appears to have jumped from a mountain rock at 6:40 a.m. He was accompanied by a bodyguard at that time,” said Moon Jae-in, who had served as presidential chief of staff during the Roh presidency.

“He left behind a brief suicide note,” Moon told reporters at the hospital.

May 10, 2009

Korean children and teenagers are the unhappiest in the OECD

Filed under: culture, education, suicide, youth — extrakorea @ 1:42 am

Considering that Korea has had the highest suicide rate in the OECD for people in their 20s for five consecutive years, it’s not surprising to find that Korean children and teenagers are the unhappiest.

On subjective happiness, Korean students got 71.7 out of 100 points, the lowest among 20 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The figure was more than 40 points lower than that of leader Greece (114). The share of students who consider themselves “happy” was 55.4 percent, much lower than the OECD average of 84.8 percent.

Going to the subjective life satisfaction index with one being the lowest and five the highest, elementary school students got four points; middle school students 3.4, and high schoolers 3.1.

So the older the kids get, the unhappier they become. I’m not in the least surprised.

May 5, 2009

National Human Rights Commission finds eight cases similar to actress Jang Ja-yeon’s

Filed under: celebrities, crime, suicide — extrakorea @ 6:37 am

About a week ago, it was announced that Korea’s human rights commission would investigate, among other things, the contracts of female entertainers.

Korea’s human rights watchdog is to investigate the contracts of female entertainers as part of efforts to improve the human rights of vulnerable groups.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) announced its working plan for 2009 Tuesday and said it will launch an investigation into the working conditions of the entertainers.

The recent suicide of actress Jang Ja-yeon triggered the commission’s action. She was found dead after her agency allegedly forced her to provide sex to several high-powered entertainment figures and journalists.

The NHRCK estimated that many other actresses are exposed to sexual exploitation within the entertainment industry, while most of them were uninsured and underpaid.

“There hasn’t been a systematic case study of the human rights conditions of female entertainers so far,” an official of the commission said.

[ snip ]

The study, expected to be wrapped up by the end of the year, is intended to serve as a supplement in creating policies to improve rights protection for the broader entertainment industry, it said.

(sources one and two)

I was skeptical, since the Jang Ja-yeon investigation has been wrapped up, at least for now, and all of the really big fish seem to have escaped the net. However, they say that they’ve found eight similar cases.

The National Human Rights Commission (국가인권위원회) announced on the 28th that its investigation of human rights violations of entertainers has turned up eight such cases.

I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude, as I’m wondering if anything will come of it.

After they are checked by outside experts the Commission sends the reports to various organizations in an effort to have them reflected in the law and official policy.

(source: Korea Beat)

Suicide and traffic accidents are the top two causes of death for young people

Filed under: suicide, traffic accidents, youth — extrakorea @ 6:07 am

For the fifth consecutive year, the biggest cause of death of people in their twenties was suicide, followed by traffic accidents. For people aged ten to nineteen, the biggest killer was traffic accidents, followed by suicide.

The suicide rate among Koreans in their 20s spiked dramatically in 2007 and once again ranked as the top cause of death for that age group, the National Statistical Office said yesterday.

It was the fifth straight year suicide led the list in that demographic.

[ snip ]

The NSO, in the latest demographic survey on the youth population, said that 21 out of every 100,000 people in their 20s killed themselves in 2007. That’s more than twice the rate of the second-biggest cause, traffic accidents, which claimed the lives of 10.4 out of every 100,000 Koreans in their 20s.

[ snip ]

For those aged 10 to 19, suicide was the second-biggest cause of death in 2007. The NSO data showed 4.6 out of 100,000 people in the age bracket killed themselves in 2007, while 5.4 people died in car accidents.


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