How well know many of our readers, Seoul is, perhaps, one of the safest megalopolises of the world. Walk through the night seoul, in contrast, from, say, walks through many districts of night New York, is not a deadly dangerous adventure, and the chances of becoming a victim of a crime here is very small (alas, it does not apply to the chances to get into a car accident that in Seoul much more than in most major cities in the world).
However, in recent months, Korean police reports began to sound much more disturbing than before. The reason for this is quite obvious – the hardest financial and economic crisis, which at the end of last year suddenly collapsed on the country. It cannot be said that there is no economic problems before in Korea, but previous crisis periods were very short, and not one of them, in their seriousness, cannot be compared with the current depression.
The crisis means coagulation of production, and, consequently, unemployment, as well as a significant reduction in real incomes of most people. According to the newspaper "Kukmin Ilbo" The current standard of living in Korea is about the same as he was in 1988., That is, otherwise, the crisis threw the country for almost a decade ago. Unemployment reached the level unheard of earlier – 7%, and continues to grow.
It is clear that the crisis and unemployment means a noticeable increase in crime in Korea. People often remaining livelihoods are ready for everything to just get money for themselves and for their family. Therefore, it does not surprise anyone that the last months in Korea are marked with increasing crime. Although the absolute number of crimes is still relatively small (at least, to compare Korea with most industrialized states), crime growth rates are simply record.
In accordance with the data for the first quarter of this year, which, in particular, were published in the newspaper "Kukmin Ilbo", The number of persons detained to the police on charges of committing criminal offenses, compared with the first quarter of last year increased by 76.8%. At the same time, the number of persons arrested on loakage charges increased by 51%, and on charges of theft – by 24% (another newspaper — "Konhyyan Synun" — leads several other statistics, and argues that the increase in the number of arrested on loakage was "only" 38.3%). At the same time, it should be mentioned that the number of arrests on the accusation in murders decreased, and more – quite significantly, by 7.7%. Practically stable and the number of rape remaining. Thus, it is obvious that the current wave of crimes wears "economic" Character and directly related to a decrease in living standards. "Kukmin Ilbo" quotes the representative of the Police Department, who noted that among the arrested an unusually high proportion of individuals previously criminally responsible not involved, and that many of them are unemployed.
Newspaper "Seoul Shinmun" It reported that in early July, a special seminar on the topic was held in the Korean capital "Methods of dealing with crime in the IMF era" ("the era of the IMF" — International Monetary Fund – Korea is often called the current economic crisis). The focus of the seminar was the question of how to relate crime and unemployment. The paper emphasizes that this relationship is not necessarily straightforward, and that in some countries the rise in unemployment does not mean an automatic increase in crime. However, according to experts, in Korea, where there is practically no social security system, and where a man lost his job can not count on generous government benefits, unemployment can not but lead to a deterioration of the crime situation.
Increasing recently and that the West is called "white collar crime", that is, a service crime, all kinds of fraud and, of course, tax evasion. Koreans, like the Russian, not like paying taxes and tax evasion is not considered a great sin (the difference, however, is that the tax rates in Korea are usually every two or three less than in Russia). Newspaper "Hanguk Ilbo" in a lengthy article even called Korea "country of unpaid taxes" (Possibly Russia and could challenge this title). According to this newspaper, which refers to the study of Korean economists, the state budget received only 45% of the theoretical amount due, while the remaining 55% withheld by taxpayers.
Foreigners, especially from the West, which the Korean people feel wealthy, so to speak, "a-priory", now too often become victims of crime. At least twice this year and have become victims of official diplomatic mission. According to the newspaper "Munzh Ilbo", May 20, criminals, knocking the window, penetrated the premises of the Norwegian embassy, and hacked the safe there. The thieves were not lucky enough, since the money in the safe turned out to be a little, about 550 thousand won (400 dollars). But the Austrian consulate was lucky. April 15, criminals kidnapped from there money and decorations on a very solid amount – 150 million Воно (110 thousand dollars). In fairness it should be noted that the Korean government, with emergency care of the country’s international prestigious issues, does everything possible to prevent crimes against foreigners. Knowing this, Korean criminals most often defeat the seductive temptation to ask the contents of the pockets that came to meet the aliens from the West.
In the new conditions, the work and Korean mafios. I must say that until recently, the Korean government as a whole successfully restrained the activities of Mafia. The task of full eradication of organized crime (in our time it is completely unreal) here, it seems seriously never put, but the police held local organizational groups within the framework, and did not allow them to interfere in legal business. Traditionally, the organizing in Korea was dealing with the business illegal or semi-legal, where the authorities looked through her activities. Shops, shops, workshops, not speaking about medium-sized companies, usually no cases with bandits did not have, while formally prohibited prostitution or gambling business without a gangster "roofs" could not do. Often mafiosi was attracted in order to "figure out" with non-payment of debts, and in the latter case "Services" Sorry and solid businessmen were also treated (to get debts through court in Korea, to put it mildly, not easy). In the conditions of the crisis, it is clear, the number of unpaid debts has grown sharply, and the effectiveness of the judiciary – decreased, and this, as the weekly writes "Sisa Chezhornal", led to a truly boom in the activities of the local mafia. According to the magazine, the increased incomes of criminal groups are often used for various financial frauds (for example, to create fictitious firms for the purpose of receiving bank loans). The actions of the Organizing Groupings took such a swake that they were now regarded as a potential threat to the country’s economic stability.
With increasing crime is connected and another weightless record.
As newspaper writes "Konhyyan Synun", The ministries of justice reported that the number of prisoners held in Korean prisons at the beginning of June amounted to 56 thousand people (in addition, about 70 thousand – a record figure – are under investigation). Korean prisons and, especially, the investigative insulators were overcrowded by a suddenly fluttered flow of arrested. The number of arrests, as already mentioned, has almost doubled lately. Of course, the prison system was not ready for such a turn of affairs, and it is difficult for it to blame it if you remember that over the last quarter of a century crime in Korea slowly, but steadily declined! In general, Korean prisons are currently completed by 130%, and for each prisoner accounts for an average of only 1.5 kV. M. Camera area.
Newspaper "Sege Synun" also published several materials that are devoted to a suddenly complicated situation in Korean prisons. Her pages published excerpts from the letter of one young prisoner, who writes about what is happening that prison, where he himself is serving the sentence (by the way, to violate the law on state security, that is, on charges of amendment North Korea). According to him, in a chamber designed for 10-15 prisoners, now at least up to 50 people. Many of them were in prison because they could not pay a fine (following the American pattern, the Korean court often offers a criminal choice between a large fine or imprisonment). Heat and tesnotes exhaust people. The author of the letter published in the newspaper notes that the situation in prison became truly severe only in recent months, when the number of prisoners began to grow rapidly.
There are serious problems, however, to panic about "rampant crime" In Korea, still not falls, because no special "Razgula" No. We should not forget that, whatever high crime growth rates in recent months, "Starter level", from which this growth began, was very low. The same 56 thousand prisoners may initially seem like an impressive figure, but it looks much less impressive if we remember that the US prisoners in prisons are about 20 times more than now in Korea (while the US population is generally more only in 5 with a little time). Increasing the number of robberies by a third or even a half times – not very cheerful news, but the number of robberies per 100.000 people in Korea were always several times less than even in such prosperous countries as Germany or the United Kingdom (not to mention the United States, where every 100.00 inhabitants in 1994. Robbery had not much not much 30 times more than in Korea). The activation of the Organization of the Organization is indisputable, but it is necessary to make their amendments. When a couple of months ago, one of the medium-sized businessmen, who as a result of the current economic crisis was not able to pay debts, was beaten by the families sent by competitors and got into a hospital with a serious cranial trauma, many newspapers and magazines wrote about it. This incident was perceived in Korea as something from a series of outgoing, as an unusual and serious crime. It is not necessary, probably, to explain to readers of the Moscow criminal chronicle, that such an incident would hardly cause universal interest in Russia, where such questions have long been solved by no fists and tutters, and automata.
So, in general, Korea remains a country safe, however, and here crime, alas, is becoming more and more tangible.