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Seoul schools spawn student gang

Apr 27,2005
With the seemingly benign name “Seoul Association,” 307 students from the city’s middle schools and high schools have formed a gang that police say has assaulted fellow students and extorted money from non-members of the group.
Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency announced yesterday a female member of Seoul’s largest-ever student gang voluntarily turned herself in. Her account of her connection to the gang led 183 other members, 92 of them females, to come forward and acknowledge their membership in the violent group.
Police officials said they plan to tell remaining members to break up the group on their own, adding that those who turn themselves in will not be charged.
The gang was reportedly founded in January 2003, and has 29 affiliates with 307 students from 94 different middle and high schools across Seoul. According to the authorities, the gang leaders are members of the 11 leading affiliates who first joined when they were in middle school, and stayed on through their high school years.
The founding members forced honor students and top athletes from their respective schools to join. Police said the initiation included physical attacks on newcomers.
From January 2003 to last February, police officials said the Seoul Association members hosted seven shows featuring sexually charged dance competitions and auctions of one-night dating partners at up to 30,000 won ($30) per person.
The gang coerced non-member students to buy tickets for the show, which cost between 3,000 won and 8,000 won. According to police reports, the shows generated nearly 3.5 million won in revenues and the senior members split the money after paying for the rent of the venues.
Police levied yesterday a 5-million-won fine on the owner of a Seoul nightclub that provided the venue for one of the shows.


by Kim Seung-hyun, Yoo Jee-ho


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