New law to ban foreign spouses for abusive S Koreans

By Sen    October 10, 2019 | 05:51 am PT
New law to ban foreign spouses for abusive S Koreans
Screenshots from an online video show a South Korean man beating his Vietnamese wife (L) and their son crying by her at their home in South Korea, July 4, 2019.
A new South Korean law will bar citizens with a record of domestic violence from marrying immigrants, following recent uproar over a Korean man brutally beating his Vietnamese wife.

The country’s Justice Ministry said in a legislative notice published Thursday that the new amendment to South Korea’s Immigration Control Law is expected to take effect in a year.

The new provision will ban a South Korean citizen with a record of domestic violence, irrespective of when it took place, from inviting foreigners to the country for marriage.

The ministry said the new move was prompted by the instance of domestic violence involving a Vietnamese housewife that happened in July. The incident provoked widespread public outrage as a video recording went viral. The video showed a South Korean man badly beating up his Vietnamese wife for three hours in presence of their two-year-old son as the latter cried out loudly.

The man was arrested shortly after. He told the police he’d beaten his wife because she did not speak Korean well.

Following the assault, the Ministry of Justice announced on August 21 a "One-strike Out" policy prohibiting domestic violence offenders from marrying a foreign spouse. The ministry has also strengthened immigrant spouse education and empowerment, the notice said.

The new legal amendment also denies migrant spouses to South Korean citizens who have been sentenced for a sexual crime against a child within the last 10 years.

The ministry expects the amendment to strengthen the foundation for sound international marriages and to better protect immigrants’ rights.

For many years now, around 6,000 Vietnamese women have been marrying South Koreans every year, according to the South Korean Embassy in Hanoi. Vietnam has overtaken China as the country sending the largest number of foreign brides to South Korea.

However, many of these marriages have not been happy experiences for Vietnamese women. Cases of suicides and fatal beatings have shocked the public in both nations.

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