Go to contents

Last Year 90.6 Billion Won up in Smoke

Posted March. 22, 2005 22:16,   


Three investigators from the execution department 2 of the Seoul Central Public Prosecutors’ Office rushed to Daegu on March 14 after being tipped off that Moon, who has been at large for two years and two months without paying his fine of 550 million won, was staying in an apartment in downtown Daegu.

The investigators succeeded in taking him into custody in the apartment parking lot after staking him out for 30 hours. Moon had been charged with smuggling and selling game machines and sentenced to pay 550 million won. However, without paying the fine, he disappeared.

Moon transferred his property to his wife’s name and also has avoided paying his fine by fabricating a false divorce.

Moon’s arrest has relieved investigators because if an additional 10 months pass, it will be impossible to collect the fine.

In case of the monetary penalty usually imposed on corporations and misdemeanors or financial criminals, the statute of limitations expires three years after the date of sentencing.

When the offender is arrested for failing to pay the penalty, the offender is forced to work in a workhouse until the accumulated daily wage reaches the amount of the penalty. Yet, the period still does not exceed three years maximum.

Due to the loophole of the monetary penalty, last year witnessed 21,415 expired cases, resulting in 90,678 million won of uncollected fines. The figure soared from 33,200 million won in 2003 and 64,200 million won in 2002.

Now, as of March this year, the number of people who have failed to pay one billion won of the monetary penalty is about 60.

The penalty imposed on corporations is more difficult to collect because forcing them to work in a labor house is impossible, prosecutors explain.

Monetary penalty has been considered an effective tool for stopping crimes involving the illegal pursuit of financial interests in society. However, when the fine is not collected promptly, the tool fails in serving its role as a penalty.

“Unlike the fine additionally charged along with imprisonment, the monetary penalty is a principal penalty, and therefore the collection must be carried out more thoroughly,” said professor Jeon Ji-yeon of the College of Law of Yonsei University.

The execution department of prosecutor’s offices, whose job is mainly to track down the runaways, now becomes the most unwelcome department among investigators.

Therefore, the prosecutor’s office is consulting with the Ministry of Planning and Budget to come up with an incentive system for those who have high performance.

Jin-Young Hwang buddy@donga.com