Korean Law Demystified!

Bribery under (New) Korean Law: The ‘3·5·10만원’ Rule Explained


부정청탁 및 금품등 수수의 금지에 관한 법률 aka 김영란법 (Kim Young-ran Law/Act) is an unprecedented anti-corruption law in South Korea that will come into force on September 28, 2016.

According to this new law and its enforcement decree, it’s illegal for a “public official/employee, etc.” to receive from anyone (with any relation to his/her work) any of the following:

1) A meal worth over KRW 30,000 (per person), or

2) A gift/present worth over KRW 50,000, or

3) Congratulatory/consolatory money (at weddings or funerals) over KRW 100,000.

If a “public official/employee, etc.” (or his/her spouse) accepts any of the above (from any one person), he/she will be punished by an administrative fine 2-5 times the amount/benefit received. He/she will simultaneously face disciplinary action.

The briber will likewise be punished by an administrative fine 2-5 times the amount/benefit given. (Promising is punishable too!)

The fact that the punishment is (merely) an administrative fine implies these acts are not actually crimes (which end up on one’s criminal record). When is bribery a crime? A: When the amount is much larger: over 1 mil won at any one time (from any one person), or over 3 mil won during one fiscal year (from any one person). In such case, “relation to work” is not even necessary!

NOTE 1: “Public official/employee, etc.” (공직자등) is a concept which includes all public officials/employees under Korean law + all who work in public or private school/college (in South Korea) + all journalists (in South Korea). Regardless of nationality.

NOTE 2: “Relation to work” (직무관련) is a concept which means the “public official/employee, etc.” officially handles work relating to (or affecting) the briber (or the briber’s interest). FYI, “consideration” (대가성) is not a requirement. (Meaning, the benefit need not have been given in exchange for something specific in mind. This is what makes the new law so powerful!)

Please read this too: https://klawguru.com/2016/09/29/buying-your-professor-coffee-is-now-illegal-in-south-korea/

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