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New Form of School Bribe Arises in Gifticon

Posted September. 24, 2009 19:43,   


“You’ve got a gifticon!”

An elementary school teacher in Seoul’s Gangam district received a text message on her cell phone in class. Since she frequently sends and receives gifticons with friends, she paid little attention to it. She thought it was a coupon for a beverage.

The coupon came from an unknown caller, and she found that it was not a gifticon but a mobile gift card worth 200,000 won (167 U.S. dollars). She thought it was wrongly delivered to her.

When calling the sender, however, the teacher heard a familiar voice. The sender was one of her students’ parents and the gift card was a bribe.

The teacher said, “I later found that many teachers received presents from students’ parents this way,” adding, “More parents are likely to use this method in the run up to the Chuseok holidays.”

Originally, a gifticon were to be redeemed for products only, but a card company has introduced mobile gift cards that can be used like cash. A 500,000 won mobile gift card has also emerged. Unlike ordinary gifticons that can buy low-priced products, mobile gift cards can buy cosmetics and other more expensive items.

Introduced in 2006 by SK Telecom, gifticons are now being given to teachers as presents.

Another reason explains the rising popularity of gifticons. If a parent wants to send gifts to their children’s teachers, the only thing they need to know is the teachers’ cell phone numbers.

Delivery is no problem, either. If a teacher who received a gifticon pushes a button on his or her cell phone, the gifticon is automatically stored in the phone.

“If the gifticon was good to get just a cup of tea, I could’ve have willingly accepted it but this is too much,” the teacher said. “I’d like to return it to the parent, but don’t know how.”