English teachers receive death threat

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English teachers receive death threat

A group representing native English speaking teachers in Korea has asked police to investigate an e-mail that contains a death threat to its members and an inflammatory message about its president.

The sender later sent a follow-up apology e-mail to the Association for Teachers of English in Korea, but ATEK President Greg Dolezal told the JoongAng Daily on Saturday that he will not drop the case.

“I have organized the KEK [Kill White in Korea],” the threatening e-mail said. “This group of people is about 200 in anywhere in Korea .?.?. We will gonna start to kill and hit White English spectrum from this Christmas. Don’t make a fuss in there, just get out. If you do not wanna listen this warning, our group will throw acid vitriol any white cheese. That’s enough to spoil in Korea.”

The e-mail was sent to ATEK members on Tuesday after the e-mail was sent to hundreds of ATEK regional chapter members in Gyeonggi and Gyeongsang provinces. The sender’s address was samkunts1@gmail.com.

ATEK’s decision to request a police investigation came on Wednesday.

Dann Gaymer, ATEK’s media officer, said all ATEK members are concerned about the threat.

“Very violent threats are suggested in the e-mail and we take it very seriously,” Gaymer said. “The e-mail reads that the e-mail sender has organized KEK and they’re gonna go around and kill whites. Now whether that’s true or not, we have to take that very seriously. We have to report that to police because that’s not O.K.”

Gaymer said the e-mail sender will be subjected to libel charges because the message also accused ATEK President Dolezal of being a sex offender. The e-mail came with an attached image of him with an allegation that he had sex with an underage child in U.S., which ATEK said is false.

“Greg is like all E-2 visa holders and he has had an HIV test and the result was negative. He’s also had a criminal background check.” Gaymer said. “He’s not a sex criminal and he doesn’t have any sexual diseases. He’s just a good English teacher. This is why we’re quite upset.”

Gaymer added, “[The e-mail writer] apologized. OK, that’s good that he admitted that he’s wrong. But he shouldn’t have done that in the first place. You can’t take back what has already happened. He’s only apologized because he knows how much trouble he has caused.”

Dolezal said once police catch the sender, he will take this matter to court. Even if the case is resolved, the situation will make it hard for him to find a job in Korea because the message damaged his reputation.

“Anytime I try to find a job in Korea or in America now, employers [will do a] Google search or Naver search on your name, and what’s going to come up .?.?. I know many Korean employers might say ‘he’s innocent but we really don’t want someone like that .?.?. at our school,’” said Dolezal, who filed a report to Gimhae Jungbu Police Precinct. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. What matters to [employers] is that I’m kind of trouble. In that case they won’t hire me. That’s very embarrassing because it’s not true.”

ATEK is going to request a formal apology from the e-mail sender and ask him to explain why he did this once he is located by authorities.

Hur Cheol, a foreign liaison officer for the police precinct, said the e-mail contains a threatening message to ATEK members which is enough to press criminal charges. “A person convicted of blackmail can face at least three years in jail or up to a 5 million won ($4,262) fine under Korean criminal law,” Hur said. “Mr. Dolezal needs to provide us with more testimony concerning the incident. Once we obtain all information we need, the investigation will soon begin.”

Established last March, ATEK currently has some 1,000 members. It aims at improving English education in Korea and addressing difficulties foreign teachers encounter here.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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