SEOUL, Aug. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — As the number of expats in South Korea is increasing, so too is the number of sexual harassment cases involving foreigners taking place on beaches during the summer vacation season. Among foreigner-related sexual offense cases, many offenders deny knowingly having committed a crime. However, courts have thus far rejected such claims, handing down a variety of sentences from fines to actual jail terms.
An appellate court upheld on July 31 a six-month prison sentence for a man from Uzbekistan who was charged with inappropriately touching a woman who was swimming, while also mandating that the perpetrator undergo an eight month treatment program for sex offenders.
In August of last year, a foreigner from Sri Lanka was also sentenced to six months in prison with a four-month sex offender treatment program after he was accused of touching the hips and thighs of three swimming women at Haeundae Beach. The Sri Lankan dropped his appeal and the ruling was upheld.
Around the same time, another Sri Lankan man was convicted of forced indecent assault with a ruling of six months in prison suspended for one year. He was found to have touched the private parts of a woman playing in the water after having approached her underwater at Daecheon Beach, located in Boryeong.
Last year in August, two foreigners brought to trial on charges of sexual harassment at Haeundae Beach were fined 7 million won and 4 million won, respectively.
There have been many cases where foreign offenders are from countries where societal norms concerning forced indecent acts against women are outdated, and punishments for such crimes are minor, said an official in legal circles. In many occasions, fines are imposed, but prison terms can also be handed down in cases of grievous offenses and when perpetrators don’t show repentance during a trial.
“Foreigners indicted on sexual harassment charges tend to deny any willful wrongdoing, but such arguments are rejected,” said a court official.
J.A. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)