The money apparently went missing in the Philippines, leading to fears that it could have fallen into foreign hands. Kim's defense, that he lost it in a casino, appears to have spectacularly backfired when prosecutors unexpectedly charged him with 'gambling', which many Koreans - who regularly bet on the lottery, horse races, the stock market, North Korean foreign policy, 'go-stop' games, and driving on the roads of Busan - do not realize is technically illegal, like corruption in public office, which also occurs extensively but is usually ignored.
'Casino gambling' for Koreans is only permitted in Gangwon Land, a money-draining theme resort in South Korea, and as Koreans have to obey Korean laws overseas, prosecutors say disgraced Kim Jung-hwan's gambling in the Philippines broke Korean law because it did not take place in Gangwon Land. Legal experts suggest that had the Filipino Casino been called 'Gangwon Land', he may have escaped the charges.
But the real problem, says a 63 year-old Law Professor at Seoul International University, is not so much the gambling, which is simultaneously legal and illegal in Korea depending on whether you have missed your TV show or not, but rather that disgraced Kim Jung-hwan lost Korean cultural properties, in this case Korean won banknotes, outside Korea, bringing shame on the nation and reminding it of its history.
It is not known if the notes - which carry an image of King Sejong the Great - will be recoverable, but Korea has consistently campaigned against the foreign ownership of Korean property, such as the stolen stone pagoda being held at the Okura Shukokan Museum of Fine Arts in Tokyo, and the Korean island of Daemado, which is illegally occupied by the Japanese and wrongly called Tsushima, which means "Korean island we stole" in the Japanese language.
Some have alleged that the reason gambling is strictly controlled in Korea is because the Korean government is heavily influenced, or even controlled by, one overall crime boss, but police say all they know about this alleged leader is that his surname is believed to be 'Lee' and that he may have been born in Japan, which is not much to go on.
The requirement for Korean citizens to obey Korean laws while outside Korea has caused problems beyond the case of disgraced Kim Jung-hwan, with a number of Korean citizens being regularly arrested in Britain for driving on the right-hand side of the road, instead of the left.
34 year-old Kim, who has just returned from an extended trip to the tiny European country, said that obeying Korean traffic laws in England was "quite frightening", but extensive Kartrider experience ensured that he avoided hitting any of the British motorists hurtling towards him. "I knew had to obey Korean laws by driving on the right even though I was outside Korea," he told us "but when I explained that to the British police they said they would arrest me anyway, and then I discovered that my British lawyer couldn't do a deal with the judge even if they went to the same school together."
The Ministry of Justice has asked the Filipino government to conduct a search for the Korean banknotes bearing the image of King Sejong the Great, but overseas experts have advised against raising hope that these cultural artifacts will be repatriated. "As the inventor of Hangul King Sejong is not popular among foreigners, and the notes are likely to be burned." one told us.
TV Personality Jailed for Missing TV Show
Entertainer gets served eight-month sentence for gambling
Shin Jung-hwan’s walk(?) of shame ends in an 8-month-prison-term
Discussions Open On Returning Stolen Pagoda to S.Korea
President Lee Calls for Retrieval of Stolen Cultural Assets
South Korean Sitcom Hit Among N.K. Teens
Judges Can't Let Ex-Judges Win Court Cases
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