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Lessons for would-be Korean husbands

NEW regulations require Korean men wishing to marry Cambodian women to complete a course aimed at preventing illegal or dangerous partnerships, an official said yesterday.

Huh Jungae, a counsellor at the South Korean embassy in Phnom Penh, said Korean men who want to marry women from one of seven countries, including Cambodia, are now required to complete three-hour “induction programmes”, the first of which were conducted last week.

“Now when we process visa applications, we will check whether the spouse in Korea has completed that programme,” she said, and added that applicants would be required to attach copies of their certificates of completion.

According to a statement posted yesterday to the website of Korea’s justice ministry, the new regulations were introduced “in response to the public awareness that tragic incidents like a recent series of murder cases of marriage migrants have to be stopped”. The statement did not elaborate.

Huh Jungae said: “The programme aims to facilitate and support the success of international marriage by providing information and enhancing understanding on the laws and regulation for international marriage, as well as the culture and traditions of the spouses’ home countries.”

... Tragic incidents like a recent series of murder cases of marriage migrants have to be stopped.

The Justice Ministry statement said the “international marriage guidance” courses are set to take place every Wednesday in 14 immigration offices nationwide.
The courses are designed to “enhance understanding of international marriage and minimise negative impact of international marriage”, according to the statement.

The ministry also said it would “raise a bar for inspection of visa application, and restrict visa issuance for spouses of Korean men who are found to have a problematic record”, and “boost information-gathering on the trend of illegal marriage brokerage firms”.

In March, the Cambodian government temporarily banned marriages between Cambodians and South Koreans after a broker was sentenced to 10 years in prison for recruiting 25 girls from rural areas and arranging for them to be paired with South Korean men.

The ban was lifted in April after the government introduced new screening mechanisms requiring that foreigners looking to marry Cambodians appear in person to submit applications to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Interior Ministry and the offices of local authorities.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said yesterday that he was not aware of any recent problems involving Cambodian women who had migrated to Korea on a marriage visa.

He declined to comment on the new Korean regulations, saying he had not been informed of them.

Huh Jungae said the regulations would also apply to Korean men looking to marry women from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Thailand.

She said the seven affected countries were chosen because they were the main sources of international marriages.

According to the Korean government’s website, “about 10 percent of all marriages in Korea are international, and most of them are between Korean men and women from other Asian countries”.



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