Korean Law Demystified!

Knowingly Corroborating a False Alibi (in Korea)


In the episode “Shell Game” of American TV show Forensic Files, a woman was sentenced to 8 years in prison for providing her sons with a false alibi. (Her sons had committed 2 counts of first-degree murder and other crimes as well. Each was sentenced to life in prison w/o parole.)

In Korea, such a woman is unlikely to receive criminal punishment.

Criminal Act (형법) Article 151 (범인은닉/범인도피)

(1) Anyone who harbors a person who has committed a crime punishable by criminal fine (or more severe punishment), or anyone who allows/helps such a person to escape, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 3 years or by a criminal fine not exceeding 5 million won.

(2) If the crime of the preceding paragraph is committed (for the benefit of the said criminal), by a relative (of the said criminal) or a family member who is living together (with the said criminal), it shall not be punishable.

– Translation by KLRI (Korea Legislation Research Institute) and me

Also, the above crime of “범인도피” requires that a liar did so in order to “actively deceive the authorities” (적극적으로 수사기관을 기만하여). This means, lying to the police may not always be a crime to begin with!

I highly recommend Forensic Files (or Forensic Flies as I like to call it). It’s one of my favorite documentary series. Not only do I learn about how forensic evidence is gathered/used, I also learn much about human behavior. How some people think, react… What motivates them/us.

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