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Canadian teacher busted for smoking hash in Ulsan

The website “Gusts of Popular Feeling” has translated one of the Korean media reports about a Canadian English teacher from a school in the Ulju district of Ulsan who was recently busted for smoking hashish along the Taehwa river. Ulju is the area surrounding the city, and includes the suburbs of Guyeongli, Cheongsang and Eonyang.

According to the report, “S”, 35, became a person of interest to the police when a “suspicious package” arrived in the Busan sorting office. Postal workers tipped off police, who allowed the package to be delivered, and then staked out the teacher to catch him in the act of smoking the drug. Apparently, he had mailed the package to his school address when departing Vancouver Airport in September, using a different name.

The Korean article then continues on to state that hashish, a “new drug”, is a strong hallocinogen and “is known” to cause schizophrenia among addicts. http://populargusts.blogspot.com/2011/11/canadian-teacher-arrested-for-taking.html

This story has yet to surface in any of the three English-language daily papers.

 Usually in the wake of stories like this, we can expect a series of anti-foreign-teacher articles and opinions in the news, followed by a tightening of E-2 visa regulations (though that might not happen this time, as they already re-enacted the canniboid test in the medical check this year).

It really is important to remember that regardless of a drug’s status in our home cultures, Korea has very strict anti-drug laws, and enforces them harshly. First of all, you are not “innocent until proven guilty” here. In Korea, burden of proof falls to the defendant, who must prove their innocence, not to the prosecutor, who in countries like the USA and Canada must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You will likely be detained from the time of your arrest, even for smoking small amounts. The penalties for possession are quite severe, usually involving jail time, heavy fines and deportation after your sentence has been served.

On top of that, if you’re busted for possession, everyone on your phone list could be hauled into the station for questioning and drug tests, meaning you put all of your friends reputations at risk.

We may joke about how lenient the police are here, especially when it comes to traffic and parking laws, but be forewarned; illegal drugs are taken very seriously, and the police strictly enforce the anti-drug laws. The border guards are well trained in sniffing out drugs in suitcases, and the postal workers will spot suspicious packages. This is not the first time an expat in Ulsan has been caught mailing illegal drugs to themselves. Let’s hope no one else is stupid enough to do it again.

 

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