There comes a time in every person’s life where they think “I can’t take anymore”. This week I reached that point and since then I’ve been playing with the pieces of what’s left so as to make something of it. It all stems from this incident at the back end of July this year. Read it, go on take it on-board, digest it and I guarantee you’ll think that I was unfortunate to treated in such a way for absolutely nothing.
Move forward to the first week in December and I got wind that this incident had reared its ugly head once more. I hadn’t heard anything from the Korean police nor was I called as a witness to any prosecution. So I assumed the matter was closed and had carried on with my life here in Korea, albeit with more caution considering how useless and biased the Police are from the above experience.
This week, through a Korean speaker I managed to talk to somebody in the district prosecutor’s office on Wednesday and I was informed that I had been given a two million won fine! Yes, two million won. That’s over £1100 and an awful lot of money indeed, whichever currency you call your own. I was told that I had till the 12th of December to pay the fine or else I would be treated as a criminal and arrested with jail time a strong possibility.
At this point I literately thought it was a joke or some kind of misunderstanding. “I didn’t do anything” was the only thing I could utter from my lips for the rest of the day. I was beaten all ends up, my will had been broken and if I had the choice, then I would have chosen to curl up and die right there. In my 37 years I can think of no other thing that has knocked the life out of me so suddenly and unjustly. I’ve never been a cheated lover but I can now imagine the utter emptiness inside one must feel in that situation.
All I did was stop a friend getting a beating in the street and was hit myself several times as I tried to stop a potential riot. How can I be fined or threatened with jail for doing the right thing? There were even witnesses who saw me trying to break up the trouble, I’d lost my wallet and my shirt was torn from my back. But, it didn’t count for anything it seems. The Korean guy was believed to be telling the truth by whichever warped arm of the Korean judiciary dealt with this case.
You hear all these tales of injustices which happen to people but you never believe you will be in such a situation. Words cannot describe how alone and powerless one feels once the cogs of a country’s justice system have started turning against you. Right now four days later I still can’t fathom the logic or the methods used to come to this decision which has ruined my life.
I was not contacted by anyone since the police interview in August. That is a fact and one which makes me wonder just what kind of criminal justice system they run here in South Korea. I can’t believe that a civilised country such as this would impose a fine on an individual and not even have the common courtesy to let that person know. I didn’t even know the case had gone to the prosecutor, let alone that I’ve been found guilty of something.
I mention’ being found guilty ‘as one would assume that I have been but as yet I know not what I have been found guilty of. That’s right, they haven’t told me, the same as they didn’t tell me this was going to a prosecutor or that I had been given a fine. They failed to tell me anything in the slightest and if I hadn’t chased this up myself off my own bat, then I would be looking at jail time right now for non-payment of a fine.
I hate to rant and I’m one of those people who accept the rough with the smooth with nothing much in the way of complaining. I’m a big guy and I can take pretty much anything life can throw at me. It’s just the feeling of isolation, anger and the overriding suspicion that they really did want to lock me up and tried everything to initiate this simply because I’m a foreigner.
I’ve never felt so low and helpless in my entire life but yet I still can’t get angry with South Korea or the Korean people. I really do love this country, the food and the people amongst other things. I regard Korea as my home now and I am planning to stay here for some time. But these bastards who have done this to me, quite deliberately have achieved what they set put to do. They’ve got their pound of flesh and I hope they’re happy.
What are my options? Very little as it happens. They have no legal aid here in South Korea so I can’t afford a lawyer so as to appeal. If I did appeal and lost then I’d have the fine and legal fees to pay so it’s a gamble I can’t take.
That’s the injustice of it all. They’ve backed me into a corner and they know that I have no options left except take the punishment no matter how unfair it is.