SEOUL, Feb.3 (Korea Bizwire) – The Board of Audit and Inspection has discovered during an investigation that foreigners who were banned from Korea after committing crimes turned out to have been entering and exiting the country freely.
The problem was caused because the Ministry of Justice neglected its duties. The ministry quickly improved its system after being caught by the Board of Audit and Inspection, but nobody was held responsible regarding the cases discovered.
According to the Board of Audit and Inspection and the Ministry of Justice, 43 of the 2,304 foreigners who were sentenced to a penalty more severe than probation between 2013 and 2014 were mistakenly not given any restrictions.
They were categorized as ‘forced expulsion’ as they were sentenced to serve time in jail for violence, selling drugs, pimping, obstruction of justice and robbery.
According to the law, foreigners who are sentenced to a penalty more severe than probation are forced out of the country, and are banned from entering the country for five years. Criminals who sell drugs or commit sexual crimes can be banished forever.
However, 18 foreigners who were sentenced came in and out of the country through Incheon Airport, and six people were even allowed to prolong their stay.
The Board of Audit and Inspection pointed out that the idle and unprofessional work of the Ministry of Justice created a huge hole in immigration control.
The Immigration Control Office records the list of sentenced foreigners and expels them once prosecution gives them notice. However, no measures were taken against the 43 foreigners who were sentenced.
Memos on 18 of the 43 were written down, and 25 were left without any restrictions at all.
Even after the errors occurred, the Board of Audit and Inspection closed the investigation, simply asking ministry officials to ‘work harder’. No one in the Ministry of Justice was punished. Although the ministry acknowledged the problem and improved its system, it was like calling the doctor after death.
Authorities from the Ministry of Justice commented that the error must have occurred due to the fact that the names of the foreigners were transmitted in Korean from the investigative agencies, causing confusion. They explained that similar errors would not happen again, as their systems and operations had been improved.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)