Ruby Ramblings

Korean Police and Facebook
July 1, 2009, 4:33 am
Filed under: Korea, Travel | Tags: , , ,

Jim went into Seoul to hang out with a teacher friend he made in an interesting transaction buying a motercycle. He learned some interesting news about a group of teachers that work at his friend’s school. Apparently one of the guys had set up an “event” on facebook inviting other teachers over for a rowdy game of poker. They were halfway though the game, which did include some wagers of won just between friends, when a fully decked-out police force entered the apartment, arrested the guys playing the game, and the last we heard they had been in jail since Friday night. The friend heard they are being deported for illegal gambling.

So the word is out that the cops troll facebook for things to nail foreign teachers with. I have a hard time chalking this one up to cultural differences. I don’t think there many folks besides extremely conservative religious types who would consider an inside game of poker true gambling.

If this a such a crack team, maybe they can find my wallet.

The fantastic blogger Brian in Jellanam posted a story about Korea opening its first “Foreigner Only Prison”. Of course, to justify the expense of such a thing, I imagine they would have to start finding prisoners, to, ahem, put in such a thing.

Update: New news and testimonial from one of the people involved in the poker night at The Marmot’s Hole.

Update:  Jim talked to his friend again, and apparenlty where the Facebook connection comes in is that the police found a Korean friend on their facebook list and asked/forced that person to take them to the address of the poker game. (This is second hand information, that is the story I’ve been told, but I don’t know how accurate it is.)

7 Comments so far
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I don’t really know what to say to that. I do have a hard time believing K-cops to be so diligent, but that’s just me being cynical (and having seen them in inaction.)

But, I will just say that people need to keep a close eye on their facebook. After some trouble I had last year I hid my profile from the public. I don’t have any photos of me drunk or in compromising positions or doing anything I shouldn’t be doing. I do worry when I see galleries of my facebook friends at rowdy parties and doing . . . well, I’ve seen it all. I’m not a prude or a Puritan, and I know that having a beer does not disqualify one from being a good teacher. But all it takes is one disgruntled student, or a weird friend, or a coworker to google you, find your profile, and send around your pictures. You don’t want your principal seeing what you did last summer, and you don’t need parents finding out how intimate you get with your friends when you’ve had a few. A case last year comes to mind of a foreign kindergarten teacher who had some photos of himself partying with Korean women. They got out and made the news. Actually, if you run a Naver image search for 원어민강사, that photo is the first that comes up.

Comment by Brian

I couldn’t agree more with folks being careful, and to take it a step further, being in charge of their own actions. Thanks for the comments Brian, it’s great to “hear” your opinion.

Comment by therubycanary

Different authorities have long been trawling Korean-language websites for actual or potential crimes committed by Koreans, so it’s not much of a surprise this has been extended to foreign residents and, perhaps more pertinent, this is hardly some foreigner-targeting practice.

Comment by kushibo

This is interesting. Would be good to confirm from another source if possible, as it does sound a bit urban mythy. Cheers.

Comment by Wedge

Oops, never mind. It looks real over on Marmot’s Hole (scroll down to comment #21):

Comment by Wedge

Well if that person was invited there isn’t much that could probably have been done. however any such further groups shold be “secret” (they don’t turn up on anyone’s profiles for any reason and only participants know about them or can see them) and I suppose gambling should be expressly stated to “not be happening – just the playing of cards and a meeting of friends. (despite what may actually occur)

If they get that upset about poker – What on earth do they do about the mah jongg gambling dens? they are certainly MUCH more plentiful over there.

Comment by Kiri

Whatever happened to the Poker 8?

Were the charges dropped?
Did they strike a plea deal?
Did they go before a judge?
Did the case go to trial?
Were they acquitted?
Were they convicted?
Were they fined?
Did they do any prison time?
Was part of their sentence/plea deal/dropped charge agreement that they never speak of it?
Are they rotting in a gulag?

Why did this story burn hot for a few days in July and then suddenly disappear?

What happened to Korea Media Watch? The Poker 8 story seemed to be their last and their sudden ending.

Comment by Anonymous One

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