In light of recent violent attacks and events around the world and also here in Korea – I started thinking about what would happen if I found myself in a situation that needed the police and didn’t have a Korean friend who spoke English around me to help. Luckily Gwangju has many fantastic resources and a quick search revealed Lee Hye-gyoung the Dongbu Police Station’s Foreign Liaison as a great point of reference.
FIRSTLY THOUGH – A NUMBER TO ADD TO YOUR PHONE IS 112 AS WELL AS JOINING THE FACEBOOK GROUP https://www.facebook.com/victimsupportcop/timeline in the event of you needing to contact the police. The phone line runs 24hrs and provides a three way interpretation calling system providing direct and rapid police service. You can also post incidents on the facebook group if you are in need of help with an incident involving a Korean national. E-mail address to contact for more private situation is: firstname.lastname@example.org”
And just an FYI here is a quick profile of Lee Hye-gyeong who might be someone who can help you out in the future. (Excerpts are edited from previously published articles from Gwangjublog.com http://gwangjublog.com/people-you-should-know-hye-gyoung-lee/ as well Gwangju news http://www.gwangjunewsgic.com/online/for-help-in-english/)
“ Lee possesses the rank of a gyeongsa – sometimes translated as “sergeant.” She is one of only 15 officers charged with protecting Gwangju’s continually growing foreigner population, some members of which know her by her English name Monica. Moreover, she says, “I am the only police who can speak English in [Dong-gu’s] Foreign Affairs division.” Dong-gu alone is home to over 1,200 foreign residents, as well as multiple expat-run businesses where the rest of the city’s English-speaking expats typically gather.
In case you find yourself in a situation where you are being attacked :
If attacked, Lee recommends fighting back but not escalating the situation; retaliating against an unarmed assault with a weapon might land the victim in more trouble than the aggressor, with the exceptions of sanctioned pepper-sprays or other alternatives.
Lee was able to go into great detail about the ideal flow of a case, and the common hiccups that can complicate matters. She stressed above all that reporting an incident immediately, preferably while victim, perpetrator and witnesses are all still present at the scene, is the most helpful thing anyone can do to aid in the pursuit of justice. Quick reporting can turn a case from a three-week ordeal into a three-day turnaround.
In the event that the crime is reported a significant amount of time after the incident, a strict protocol is followed in which victims and suspects must be located and interviewed separately, after which a case file must be sent to the prosecutorial branch of the Korean National Police (KNP). The KNP then makes a determination about what action should be taken. This slow progression through what is said to be an understaffed system can take over a month to come to any meaningful conclusion, leaving victims to wonder if the police are pursuing their cases at all.
Lee wants internationals to know they are indeed committed, especially her.
Crime prevention is a two-way street, though. “I am only one person managing foreign foreign affairs in the Dong-gu district, so I will be glad if the foreign community becomes my eyes and ears, so I can listen to and to understand your difficulties and some problems.”
If you are an international resident of Gwangju, she encourages you to contact her with any concerns or questions”
Stay safe and remember 112 (even for help to report crimes such as theft or burglaries)
(Articles cited above are available online and has been referenced as such)