Korean Law Demystified!

Suing the Police for Unlawful Arrest/Detention (in Korea)

[Example Situation]

Two Nigerians (Alex and Kelechi) are roommates in South Korea. One night, Kelechi is arrested by police after committing theft. At the police station, Kelechi impudently presents Alex’s ID and personal details. The inept/lazy police take him at this word, and he is allowed to return home. But Kelechi later fails to appear before the court, and police raid the house. Going by the ID they have, they mistakenly arrest Alex thinking he’s Kelechi. As a result, Alex is detained for 11 days. If Alex sues the police, how much is he likely to receive in damages (under Korean law)?

I. The Rulings: 1.8 + 5.4 mil won

Events similar to the above happened back in 2014. In 2014, the Suwon District Court awarded Alex with 1.8 mil won for having been illegally detained (for 11 days) by the bumbling police.

More recently, the Seoul Central District Court awarded an additional 5.4 mil won for psychological pain & suffering.

II. Reasoning: Police Illegality

The police neglected to properly ID the culprit. Even though things didn’t add up, they went ahead and detained Alex. (FYI: According to reports, the two looked nowhere alike/similar.)

III. The 1963 Vienna Convention

The inept police also neglected to inform Alex of his right to notify/alert the Nigerian Embassy/Consulate. This is said to be the first case (in Korea) where such type of illegality was recognized in a court of law. (FYI: It is the right of the national.)

Thanks for reading!

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