Go to contents

Fraud Targeting Japanese Colonial Victims Rampant

Posted March. 08, 2005 22:46,   


Recently, a Mr. Kim (87, Hwasoon-gun, South Jeolla Province) who suffered from forced military service during Japanese colonial rule received a phone call from someone introducing himself as the director-general of the “Research Center of Korean Victims during Japanese Colonial Rule.”

He said “the center has been established by government funds to help victims get compensation if you pay a 150,000 won fee for documents to be submitted to the Fact-Finding Committee for Japanese Colonial Rule Victims.” Kim, who had heard that the fact-finding committee was receiving applicants for compensation starting February, but who had been hesitating because he did not know what to do, sent his personal information and money.

He tried calling the office after no further contact had been made for weeks, but the phone number was no longer valid.

Such cases of fraud have surfaced after the government promised compensation for victims during Japanese colonial rule, adding to the suffering of victims.

The special investigation division of the National Police Agency sought an arrest warrant for Mr. Goh (79) on charges of receiving 150 million won from 687 people (fraud) through similar methods.

According to the police, Goh opened a private institution called “The Research Center on the Rights of Korean Victims in World War Two” in Jung-gu, Busan last October. He attracted victims, saying “an indemnity suit had been filed and won in Japanese courts for Korean victims, and the Japanese government had deposited 8.7 trillion won for 720,000 Korean victims.”

Goh explained that “as the Japanese government does not have relevant documents, those over the age of 78 can receive compensation regardless of whether they were drafted or not.” Deceived by this explanation, Ms. Yang (54) submitted papers for six family members including her father-in-law, even though no one in her family had been subject to forced military service.

Goh had previously worked for the Busan office of the “Association for Pacific War Victims,” which had filed and lost a lawsuit against the Japanese government. However, he was fired in 2001 for embezzling members’ fees.

Goh had already been sentenced to three years in prison with a four-year probation term for using the same method to receive 1.3 billion won from about 6,000 people, getting 200,000 to 500,000 won per person at the end of 2003, and committed the crime during his probation.

A police official said, “Of the 20 institutions established to compensate victims, those which receive fees are highly likely to be fraudulent.”

As cases of fraud or calls asking for fees have increased, the fact-finding committee posted a warning on its website saying, “Be careful, as there are people requesting fees regarding application and compensation.”

Yang-Hwan Jung needjung@donga.com ray@donga.com