… a civilian who tried to gift (KRW 45,000 worth) rice cakes to a police officer who was handling her case. (She was not a suspect, but the person who had made the criminal complaint.) She was thankful that the officer was kind enough to rearrange her interview time, etc. Realizing such gift was now unlawful, the officer had no choice but to report her. And her trial began.
On Dec. 8, 2016, the Chuncheon District Court found the gift illegal and imposed an administrative fine of KRW 90,000. FYI, “administrative fines” don’t end up on one’s criminal record.
The bottom line: You (a civilian) can be punished for giving (directly or indirectly) practically anything (of any monetary value) to a public official/employee, or public/private teacher/educator, or any journalist who is/was officially handling a case/matter/evaluation relating to you or your family/relatives.
The logic: it’s extremely hard to discern gift based solely on pure gratitude. But it remains to be seen whether a (simple) can of coffee would also (really) be found finable. Thanks for reading!