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This is a question I witnessed a crime

Freddy Woo writes, "A group of us once staggered home so insensible with drink that we failed to notice someone being killed and buried in a shallow grave not more than 50 yards away. A crime unsolved to this day."

Have you witnessed a crime and done bugger all about it? Or are you a have-a-go hero?
Whatever. Tell us about it...

(, Thu 14 Feb 2008, 11:53)
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Technically I wasn't the witness...
This just happened a few weeks ago and my wife is still furious. What follows is a tale of child abuse, foreigners, sensationalist reporters, and a belligerent drunk Mrs Traitor.

It all started about three Fridays ago, when I was just about to go home for the weekend. On a message board for ESL teachers in Korea, a Kiwi girl made a frightening report. Behind her apartment is a daycare. She was home for the day because her mom was visiting, and they both heard the sound of a small child screaming. Looking out the back window, they saw this:
A little girl standing naked at the back door on a metal fire escape, in a temperature around freezing. She was out there for 15 minutes, until the door opened and an angry woman yanked her inside. The Kiwi assumed that this was a punishment for the little girl wetting her pants.

This was not the first time she'd witnessed this; it had happened with an even younger boy back in December. And usually she's at work during the day, so who knows how many other times it happened? So this time she took a picture and decided to do something about it. Problem was, as a foreigner in Korea, she had no idea what to do.

I was the first to reply, and I said with my wife's help I could get these pictures spread all over the Korean Internet. Korea has a vicious Internet vigilante community, and are known for regularly destroying human beings.

When I showed my wife the pictures, she knew we had to do something. We decided our first step should be to phone the police, because if we went to the media first we'd look kind of like media whores.

So my wife called the police station and spoke to an uncooperative detective. The detective told us that we couldn't report the crime as we weren't actual witnesses. The fact we had the pictures (uncensored originally; blur added by me) wasn't enough--only the Kiwi could report the crime. Moreover, the right police department was closed for the weekend, and we had to bring the Kiwi in on a weekday between 9 and 6. The cop then started asking my wife why she was involved; she didn't have kids at the daycare, she didn't know anyone who had kids there, and she hadn't witnessed the crime. She claimed she was friends with the Kiwi and just helping her out, which was basically true.

So we decided to go to the media. First my wife contacted an investigative TV programme with SBS, a major Korean broadcaster. They were very interested, and planned to sneak hidden cameras into the daycare. Next, we contacted a reporter from the online Korean newspaper ohmynews.com, who also was on duty when the cops weren't. By the way, keep in mind that all our progress was being reported back on the ESL site by me.

The ohmynews reporter scooped the story. He contacted the daycare owners, who belligerently told him where to stuff his allegations. It was quoteworthy enough to make them look like bad guys, so he ran the story with the abuse pictures. Right after it went online, the daycare people called him back and confessed that they had abused the kid, but only that one time (despite the fact the Kiwi's insistence she'd seen it twice).

By Monday, the shitstorm had begun. The Kiwi reported to me that there was a circus of people outside her apartment, and furious parents were physically pulling their kids out of the daycare.

The daycare turned out to be government-funded, and was intended for low-income families who couldn't afford anything else. The owners selected their youngest employee and claimed that she had locked the little girl out in the cold (although the Kiwi claimed the employee she saw was much older). Ah, Confucianism.

Believe it or not, the parents of the little girl identified in the pictures chose not to take action, after the daycare worker was shown on TV bowing to them and apologising for torturing their daughter. In order for further action to be taken, the Kiwi had to file a complaint with the police, which she did.

The story made it to the front page of every Internet news site. The entire country was furious. For once, a foreigner was in the headline news, and she was being called a hero. But since no reporter in Korea seems to know any English, they had to go through my wife to contact her, set up interviews, etc. So my wife's phone was ringing nonstop, although she was mostly kept out of the news.

One thing we'd been talking about on the ESL website was the initial poor response of the police. Of course now that 40 million Koreans were paying attention they were a lot more responsive. Then the shitstorm widened.

An anonymous Korean woman, I'm assuming the wife of another ESL poster, called the police herself. She claimed that she was friends with the Kiwi, and the two of them had contacted the police together on Saturday. Not true, as it was my wife and I who contacted the police, and the Kiwi wasn't with us. Anyway, this anonymous woman hurled abuse at the police and hung up.

The police didn't get her name, but they knew how to find her. They called up the ohmynews reporter and asked him "Who's that Korean woman who's been helping you out?" The reporter told them my wife's name and gave them her phone number. So the police started calling my wife nonstop about "her" complaint, saying that they would begin an investigation and punish the detective she spoke to. She said she made no such complaint, but they didn't believe her. She had to go down to the police station to sort it out, and she told me the police were furious that she was causing trouble for this detective. But, she sorted it out and promised she would not make any sort of complaint against them. The police also told my wife that the Kiwi was angry at her, because she didn't want to go to the media. Of course, meanwhile, the Kiwi was enjoying the attention of several million Koreans, and thought no such thing.

Then, a new interview came out with the Kiwi, who was quoted saying that my wife physically went to the police station (the wrong police station, mind you--she gave the name of a police box rather than the appropriate headquarters) and the police didn't help at all. This was written by the ohmynews reporter, who knew full well my wife phoned, not visited, the police. My wife called the reporter, who, keep in mind, had already betrayed her by giving her over to the police, and demanded he take that part out of the story before the police see. Oh yeah, and while the Kiwi's identity was kept secret, the reporter had no trouble running a quote of her thanking me personally (by username).

Of course, the police had seen the article as soon as it came out, and they were even more angry at my wife now. They accused her of breaking her word. She did her best to sort things out, but they didn't trust her. Even the reporter believed that she was the anonymous caller, and now just didn't want to back up her words.

The media got a whiff of this, and they started calling her nonstop to get a quote about how the police mishandled the situation. I got a couple propositions for interviews, but I just told them someone had made a big mess of things and now my wife looked bad.

We managed to get all the new articles out to remove all references to the police doing a bad job, and immediately the story went from top of the headlines all the way to the bottom. Now that police incompetence was out of the picture, nobody cared.

I came home on Friday, a week after it started, to find my wife had skipped work and had been drinking all day. Everyone had been praising the Kiwi for standing up, but they were mad at my wife for not having the balls to take down the police. By this point my wife wished she had never gotten involved.

Anyway, sorry for length, but it took you less time to read this than it did for the daycare workers to let that poor little girl in out of the cold.
(, Fri 15 Feb 2008, 2:59, 6 replies)
that is awful! I'd hunt down anyone who did that to my kids.

We had a lovely little tale of abuse here in the last year. The daycare worker was locking kids in the walk-in freezer for misbehaving. She kept doing it until one of the kids died. And it was a church-run daycare at that! I can't believe things like that still happen.

We truly do live in a seriously messed up world.
(, Fri 15 Feb 2008, 6:45, closed)
a truly shocking case where the emphasis is shifted from the abuse of a poor little child to 'he said - she said' bullshit and poliics.

It's actually comforting to know that the fkuced up UK justice system is not alone in being preceived as bungling fools by the public.
(, Fri 15 Feb 2008, 8:55, closed)
Should i click those links?
Theyre not pictures of naked little girls are they? hehe!
(, Fri 15 Feb 2008, 9:56, closed)
this sort
of good old corporal punishment is exactly why Korea is expanding - and the UK sinking into a chav hell... I had the same punishments met out to myself as a child and worse... its not a bad thing...
(, Fri 15 Feb 2008, 17:11, closed)
She's a fucking toddler! A punishment like that is going to make NO sense to her! And punishment without the wrongdoer being able to understand why they are being punished is not punishment, it's torture.

"Good old" corporal punishment? As in, the "good old" days? Bring back hanging as well, yes? Hell, why not cut off hands and pull out tongues? Oh, everything was SO much better in the "good old" days.
(, Fri 15 Feb 2008, 18:56, closed)
The little girl in the pictures is naked but it's blurred. The same pictures were printed in international news stories so I doubt you have to worry.

And what kind of punishment is locking a 2- or 3-year-old toddler out in the freezing cold, naked, for 15 minutes at a time? There's a sharp difference between discipline and torture.
(, Sat 16 Feb 2008, 1:50, closed)

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