111 questioned in marriage agency crackdown

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111 questioned in marriage agency crackdown

Police are investigating more than 100 people after a crackdown on 72 agencies across the country suspected of operating illegal marriage brokering services between Korean men and foreign women.

“We are currently investigating 111 people from 72 marriage agencies across the country,” a police officer said on Sunday. “Some of them introduced women without providing proper personal information and even deceived the clients.”

Announcing the operation, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said one 71-year-old man, identified as Lee, is believed to have introduced 20 Vietnamese women to a 38-year-old client named Lim, but the women only provided their ages, names, family connections and level of education. The law says they need to provide details on their marital status, medical reports, criminal records and occupations.

Another suspect, Kim, 53, allegedly deceived his clients by telling them that a Chinese woman who actually only had a masseuse license was a doctor.

Police also said some of the suspects are believed to have travelled to foreign countries with clients to let them choose women to bring back to Korea. Often, the women did not even come to Korea or would run away after arriving in Korea because of difficulties adapting to Korean society.

Some of the others being questioned are believed to have made false advertisements. Police said Dae, 51, is suspected of illegally buying photos of 24 successful marriage connections from other agencies and pretending he had local branches in Vietnam, Cambodia and Mongolia.

Other accusations include introducing minors to Koreans or forcing sexual relations on women to get them to marry.

“We will keep looking into marriage agencies’ illegal practices,” police said. “We will also collaborate with consulates to pursue illegal agencies working in foreign countries.”

BY KIM BONG-MOON [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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