South Korea: Murder of Vietnamese woman sparks legal changes
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South Korea: Murder of Vietnamese woman sparks legal changes

There has been a lot of controversy lately over a Vietnamese woman who was murdered in Busan by her Korean husband. I’ll be translating several more articles about the issue this week, starting with the fact that it will lead to some more equality in the law for foreigners — but maybe not all of them.

With the brutal murder of a Vietnamese woman in Busan by her mentally ill Korean husband having shocked the societies of both nations, beginning next year foreigners will also be able to receive compensation under the law as crime victims.

The Ministry of Justice (법무부) announced on July 20 it had begun the work of crafting amendments to the law on the protection of victims of crime (범죄피해자보호법) so that they may be compensated if they are victimized.

Under current law compensation is restricted to those with Republic of Korea citizenship. Compensation will be expanded to foreigners, including marriage immigrants and legally resident migrant workers.

The Ministry is considering whether to restrict compensation to only the rapidly increasing number of foreign spouses and their children, or to include all legally resident foreigners, or some other restriction.

As examples of what other countries do, Japan compensates all legally resident foreigners who are victims of crime, while Germany does so only for those foreigners who have been legally resident for at least three years.

The Ministry, through internal deliberations as well as consultation with the Ministry of Gender and Family Equality (여성부), plans to prepare a recommendation on a final plan including which crimes to compensate, and then submit the plan to the National Assembly in September and implement it next year.

An official in the Ministry said, “even after the law is reformed it won’tbe retroactive, so the recently murdered Vietnamese woman won’t receive any compensation… she could receive similar compensation from the various victims’ rights centers.”

Beginning in August the Ministry will expand victims’ compensation to include crimes causing injuries requiring eight weeks’ recovery and those comitted against the seriously mentally handicapped.