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Credit Card Debt Has Drive Society Insane

Posted October. 30, 2002 22:46,   


Our society has been struggling under the heavy weight of the burgeoning credit card debt.

We have witnessed many credit card debt-stricken people commit suicide and robbery. Now, one debtor even killed his own father.

Use of credit card has driven adults and even teens deep into the obsession to pay back by all means and turned them into potential criminals, creating a worrisome social situation.

▽Current Status of "Card Crime" = On Oct. 30th, the Soosuh Police Station of Seoul arrested and put up for arraignment a suspect, (Chun, 28) on charges of parricide. Chun allegedly killed his father for paying back the credit card debt he has run up at bars and salons.

Chun has run a restaurant in Goyang City, Kyunggi Province. Ever since 1998, he piled up a total debt of \90 million (approximately $75,000). He used his mother`s, sister`s and even friend`s cards to buy a car, and wasted up the money for drinking and hanging around with girls. He murdered his father, aiming at the life insurance coverage on his father. Under the coverage, his family is entitled to almost $250,000 if the father dies.

According to the police report, at around 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 27th, he entered his parents` house in Kaepoh Dong, Kangnam Gu, Seoul. Then, he beat his father to death with a hammer, while he was sleeping.

The bank robbery which took place in Pohchun County, Kyunggi Province, seems also triggered by the same reason. The main suspect of the case, Army Sergeant Chun, has used 5 credit cards and run up a tremendous debt. Pushed into the corner, he committed the crime.

On Oct. 29th, a former bank employee Cho (24) was apprehended for counterfeiting by the Koonsan Police Station of Chunbook Province. He also committed the crime to pay back $18,000 of the card debt.

In the meanwhile, quite a number of people commit suicide due to the stress caused by the credit card debt.

One prosecutor at the Busan District Office of Public Prosecutors said, "Almost 50% of the cases I have handled were motivated, wholly or partially, by the credit card debt."

Lt. Park Hak-dong of the Felony Division in the Kangnam Police Station of Seoul said, "No statistics have been officially published yet. But, almost all of the felonies like robbery are triggered by the credit card debt."

▽ Rotting Teens = The credit card debt is not only a problem of the adults. It has dried up ethics and morality in them. The Hanbit Bank robbery in last March of this year was committed by 4 high school alumni, who were struggling under the heavy card debt.

The Financial Supervisory Service reported on Oct. 30, "As of August, 9,093 teens had to watch their credit records ruined. 58% of them, or 5,348, could not pay back their card debts. Bad credit caused by insolvency on credit card payments has shot up to 62.8% from last year`s 49.9%."

▽ Unpredictable Explosiveness = Many point out that the recent wave of credit card-related crimes represents only the tip of the iceberg.

While the debt is snowballing, each individual has his/her limitation in paying back. According to the Association of Banks, people, who got to have bad credit records due to their inability to make credit card payments for three months or more, have reached up to 2,450,000 in number as of September. Putting it into a simple mathematics, one out of 20 Korean citizens is mourning under the credit card debt. 1,180,000 of them have not made payments that amounted to $10,000 for each.

For the whole industry, the delinquent payments amount to \4.8 trillion (circa. $4 billion) as of last month. In comparison with \4 trillion in June and \4.4 trillion in July, the amount has been burgeoning by \300 billion to \40 billion a month.

Professor Han Sang-jin at Seoul National University pointed out, "If the credit card debt keeps pushing people up against the wall, they are likely to be tempted to solve the difficulty through a quick solution: crime." In other words, millions of the people under the card debt are exposed to the high possibility of becoming a criminal.

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