Korean Law Demystified!

Common Misconceptions about Korean Law on Rape


Below are some I encounter fairly on a regular basis. (Oh, the chart above is not a misconception. I just made it for ease of understanding.)

1. “The statute of limitations is 6 months…”

I say: No. Before June 2013, it used to be that a victim had to file a criminal complaint (고소) to the police/prosecution within 6 months of having fallen victim. FYI, a statute of limitations (공소시효) is something entirely different. (e.g., It’s when the police/prosecution have no leads, and finally the perpetrator cannot be prosecuted. Also, it’s not 6 months. For rape perpetrated against an adult, it’s always been 10 years!)

2. “A victim has to press charges for the police to investigate…”

I say: No. This, I think, refers to the criminal complaint requirement I just mentioned. But either way, this requirement was abolished in June 2013. And hence, also no longer true is the following statement: “A rapist can essentially bribe his/her victim to avoid criminal punishment…”

3. “Intoxication is a valid legal defense…”

I say: Yes and no. Ever since the Nayoung Case, Korean courts have voluntarily tended not to recognize intoxication as either a partial or full defense in rape cases. I hope this is ASAP made mandatory (by law).

4. “Quasi-Rape is not really Rape…”

I say: Yes and no. “Quasi-Rape” and “Rape” are technically different crimes, but are treated practically the same. For example, the identical sentencing as outlined in the Criminal Act (형법). FYI, “Quasi-Rape” refers to instances where the rapist took advantage of the victim’s already incapacitated state. (“Quasi” does not mean “sort of criminal…”)

To learn a little more about Korean law on rape, click here.

Have a nice weekend!

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