Ex-convicts from U.S. caught teaching

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Ex-convicts from U.S. caught teaching

Ex-convicts from the United States concealed their nefarious pasts and fabricated higher degrees to find employment as native English language instructors in Korea, the police revealed yesterday.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency stated that three Koreans from the United States have been arrested for forging degrees and teaching in language institutes in Korea.

The police also requested an arrest warrant for Lee, 29, a public service employee and booked six others related to the case. A 38-year-old Korean-American surnamed Kim, one of three arrested for forgery, found employment in a reputable English language academy in Korea as a native foreign language instructor. But the fake degree was not his biggest secret.

According to the police, Kim, who was adopted by a family in America as a child, was a member of an Arizona gang and shot and killed a member of a rival gang in 2000. He was charged with second-degree murder and sentenced to ten years in prison.

After receiving parole after eight years, Kim was deported to Korea in October 2007. The immigration office encouraged Kim to join a Christian community, where he joined a three-month adjustment program for those who were deported from the States and met others, who like him, hid a criminal past and did not report it to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Guided by the people he met in the program, Kim found employment as an English instructor after fabricating his degree from Arizona State University in 2008 via a Web site.

Another individual arrested surnamed Kim, 44, who now runs his own language institute in Korea, was deported from the United States in the midst of serving time for kidnapping and raping a woman.

Meanwhile, Lee, with Kim’s assistance also forged his degree to find employment as a public service worker. Lee too hid a criminal record, having served two years in the U.S. for illegal possession of marijuana and firearms.


By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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