Police Interrogations

You really do not want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law in Korea not least because a Korean “slammer” is not a very nice place to be. Not that a western jail would be much better.

Here are one or two things that you should bear in mind. You have right to legal counsel, a brief, a legal representative but how effective will they be? One has a preconception of the western lawyer who is proactive in protecting your constitutional rights. He will intervene on your behalf; he will fight your corner. He will give you advice.

By contrast your Korean counsel is likely to be much more passive. This is for a number of reasons. The first is that Article 243 of the Criminal Procedure Act limits the way in which the lawyer can intercede. The lawyer may object when an interrogation is being conducted illegally.

However, the lawyer may not intercede at will. In practice he needs the permission of the interrogating officer and this could even extend to advising the client to say or not to say something which could be very damaging.

In practical terms and for other cultural reasons this means that your counsel will probably remain more passive than you might otherwise prefer. This is especially disconcerting when the interrogation is carried out in a different language albeit through a translator. However, there is a way…………..