Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Korea Times Sentenced Over Foreigner Attack

The Korea Times, which describes itself as "a gateway to Korea for foreigners" and so attacks them on a regular basis, was sentenced in Seoul Central Court yesterday after being caught on CCTV assaulting a foreigner at 11pm in a Hongdae neighborhood street earlier this year.

Initially the Korea Times denied the charge, and produced 20 witnesses who stated that the foreigner was drunk and started the incident first. However, after being arrested in hospital, friends of the foreigner who visited the location of the incident for their blog write-ups, noticed that the street was covered by a CCTV camera. After five months of legal wrangling, the tapes were finally handed over. Those involved in the case say that the video clearly shows The Korea Times sneaking down the street in the shadows before running up behind the foreigner and beginning the vicious attack. The video shows no other people nearby and the 20 witnesses have withdrawn their evidence, stating that they may have been mistaken.

The Korea Times continued to protest its innocence, portraying the teacher as a drug-pushing serial sex offender. although in court they finally admitted they knew nothing about the foreigner's background. Other major newspapers sided with The Korea Times, with The Chosun Ilbo running caricatures of the foreigner every day in their newspaper depicting him as a gang member chasing schoolgirls with knives.

58-year-old Judge Kim, presiding, said that it was a difficult judgment. "On the one hand, we know that everything we read in the newspapers in Korea is true, but on the other hand, we also know that the camera does not lie, and everything we see on film is true. This was a case where one disagreed with the other, so I had to decide which type of media is more important."

The judge handed down a fine of 50,000 won. The Korea Times said it will appeal the decision. 43-year-old in-house attorney Kim said that the ruling clearly ignores Chaebol-law which guarantees legal immunity for large Korean corporations, and he expects to get it overturned in a higher court.

The foreigner was not available for comment as he was deported for the crime three months ago.

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