Tag Archives: south korea

liberation day

South Korea Declares Aug. 14 as Temporary Holiday for Independence Day Festivities

by ALEX HYUN| @ahyundarkb4dawn

This year, the South Korean government has temporarily labeled Aug. 14 as an extra public holiday in conjunction with the country’s 70th Liberation Day holiday held on Aug. 15.

National Liberation Day, also known as Gwangbokjeol, commemorates Korea’s independence from Japanese 1910-1945 colonial rule, which ended after Japan surrendered to the Allies in WWII.

South Korea’s move to designate the 14th as a holiday is a response to the loss of morale and economic profits, which was spurred by the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak.

“We should make the 70th Liberation Day a turning point to boost the public sense of pride, revive the depressed atmosphere and boost consumers’ sentiments,” President Park Geun-hye said during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, according to the Korea Herald.

Such a temporary holiday is not a new phenomenon in South Korea. In July 2002, a holiday was celebrated for Korea qualifying for the semi-finals of the World Cup. The opening day of the Seoul Olympics also saw a temporary holiday in 1988.

According to the Korea Herald, the government will exempt foreign travelers from paying motorway toll fees and will offer discounted tickets for railway travelers. Fifteen historic sites, including Gyeongbokgung Palace and Deoksugung Palace, as well as 41 recreational forests will be open for free during the Liberation Day weekend.

The government also plans to issue an order to close all public offices and agencies on the Aug. 14, a day before Liberation Day festivities begin. Private companies will be given the choice to follow this directive.

South Korea’s tourism industry has plunged in recent months due to the MERS scare, with a 41 percent decrease in incoming international visitors in June, compared to statistics from last year. However, South Korea declared an end to the outbreak on July 27, and foreign tourists have started making their way back to the country. On Tuesday, Seoul reported its 30th consecutive day without an additional MERS case.

South Korea’s Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan expects the temporary holiday to “induce about 1.3 trillion won worth of domestic consumption and create 46,000 new jobs,” according to the Korea Herald.

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Featured image via Yonhap

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park health ministry

President Park Nominates New Health Minister After MERS Scare

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has decided to replace her health minister after the government was criticized for its poor handling of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak that killed 36 people and infected 186 people, reports Reuters.

Last week, South Korea declared itself virtually free of MERS, as there were no new cases of the virus in three weeks. The infections could be traced back to a 68-year-old businessman who returned to Seoul from the Middle East, where the coronavirus was first identified, in May.

More than 17,000 people in Korea were quarantined as the virus continued to spread through hospitals. Thousands of schools in Seoul were also closed during the peak of the outbreak.

South Korean media have criticized Health Minister Moon Hyung-pyo for withholding the names of the hospitals that had handled MERS patients, which led to nationwide panic and confusion. Seoul citizens also voiced their complaints over the government’s failure to swiftly contain the virus in its early stages.

President Park nominated Chung Chin-youb, a local medical professor and orthopedic surgeon, to replace Moon as health minister, according to a statement issued by Park’s office on Tuesday. The statement described Chung as someone who can “strengthen public health care,” according to Yonhap News Agency.

Although Chung is required to go through a confirmation hearing, his nomination does not need parliamentary approval.

MERS usually does not spread so easily, but health experts suspect that South Korean patients’ habit of “doctor shopping,” the practice of seeking care at multiple hospitals to treat the same illness, may have contributed to the widespread transmission. Last week, South Korea’s health ministry said it plans to establish a new system that will require all hospital visitors to register at the entrance in order to reduce the risk of outbreaks in medical facilities.

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Featured image via Yonhap

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Dogs Get Botox and Plastic Surgery in South Korea

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

It’s no secret that South Korea is the world’s capital for plastic surgery. Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that about 20 percent of women in South Korea have gotten “some form of cosmetic work” done.

But it seems like doing touch-ups on their own faces and bodies are no longer enough for some Koreans. According to the Chosun Ilbo, there has been a rise in pet owners putting their pets, mostly dogs, under the knife for some nips and tucks, including botox.

“Plastic surgery for pets in the past were for medical reasons but the result also brought better looking dogs, so there is a growing customer base getting a plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons on their dogs,” one unnamed veterinarian told the Chosun Ilbo, according to Kotaku.

The price tags for these pet cosmetic procedures can be as cheap as $60 or go up to thousands of dollars. Some of the most popular ones include tail shortening, ear trimming, wrinkle straightening, fat and stretch marks removal and double eyelid surgery. That’s right, double eyelid surgery. When was the last time you looked at a pair of puppy dog eyes and thought they didn’t look adorable enough?

puppy eyes

Before you condemn the entire country for this trend, many South Koreans are opposed to plastic surgery for pets. In a survey conducted by Korean veterinarian magazine Daily Vet, about 63 percent of respondents said cosmetic surgery for pets should be banned. Among thousands of comments on the Chosun Ilbo article’s webpage, the vast majority of commenters expressed their disapproval regarding the trend.

“Do people who make their dogs get these procedures think their pets are some kind of decoration or ornaments?” one netizen commented. “Dogs are not dolls. They’re so selfish.”

Another commenter wrote, “What is the difference between this and forcing your own children to get plastic surgery?”

However, there seems to be a difference in opinions between veterinarians and animal rights activists. One veterinarian named Dr. Yoon told the Chosun Ilbo that cosmetic surgery for pets was “medically safe” and claimed that it is within “owner’s right” to make their pets beautiful. Many animal rights activists have called cosmetic surgery a form of “animal abuse,” adding that animals can’t voice their opinion on the procedures done on them. 

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South Korea Declares Itself Free of MERS Danger

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korea on Tuesday declared a de facto end to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak that has killed 36 lives and infected 186 people since May, reports Agence France-Presse.

Addressing a meeting of government officials in Seoul, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said there has been no new MERS case in the past 23 days, adding that the last potential patient released from quarantine earlier this week.

“After weighing various circumstances, the medical personnel and the government judge that the people can now be free from worry,” Hwang said. “I ask the public to shake off all concerns over MERS and to resume normal daily activities, including economic, cultural, leisure and school activities.”

More than 16,000 people were quarantined in hospitals and homes during South Korea’s MERS outbreak, the biggest of the virus outside Saudi Arabia. Thousands of schools in the Seoul were closed at the peak of the outbreak.

South Korea’s tourism industry was hit particularly hard by the spread of the disease, with the number of foreign visitors plummeting by over 40 percent in June compared to last year’s statistics.

Although MERS is considered to spread poorly, experts claim that South Korea’s crowded emergency rooms and patients’ habit of “doctor shopping“— the practice of seeking care at multiple hospitals to treat the same illness—may have contributed to the widespread transmission.

According to the Korea Herald, the Korean health ministry announced on Tuesday that it will now require all hospital visitors at medical facilities to register upon entry in order to reduce the risk of hospital-to-hospital transmission. It will also establish a new system that offers care that is usually provided by the patients’ family members.

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South Korean Schools Reopen Despite Widespread MERS Fear

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Jersey City Unveils Renovated Korean War Memorial

by ALEX HYUN | @ahyundarkb4dawn

To commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War, Jersey City unveiled its newly refurbished Korean War memorial on Monday, reports the Jersey Journal.

The monument was vandalized last year with its floodlights destroyed and granite etchings of soldiers’ names defaced, drawing the ire of veterans. What made the vandalism even more unfortunate was the fact that the responsibility of maintaining the monument lies with the Korean War veterans of Jersey City, not the city itself.

However in a turn of events, the province of Gyeonggi in South Korea donated $100,000 to Jersey City last year on Veterans Day for the monument to be repaired and improved. The donation is a symbol of the camaraderie shared between U.S. veterans and South Korea, a country that American soldiers barely knew but still defended during the 1950-53 war.

Thanks to the Burns Bros. Memorials, new pictures have been engraved inside the monument. Local developer Fields Development Group have also donated new floodlights. With new floodlights installed and a possible addition for security cameras, Jersey city and its veterans hope to curb future vandalism attempts on the memorial.

“Sixty-two years ago the Korean War ended,” Eddie Paradine, commander of the Korean War Veterans Association of Hudson County, said in his commemorative speech. “And now we can celebrate it by putting the finishing touches on the monument for the 133 soldiers from Hudson county who gave their lives.”

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, more than 33,000 American soldiers were killed in combat during the Korean War. Twenty-one U.N. countries, including Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, later contributed in the defense of South Korea.

“I was born and educated in a free democratic nation and now I’m here with you today, all because of your services and sacrifices of the Korean War veterans,” said Hyung Gil Kim, deputy counsel general of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in New York. “Ladies and gentleman, I tell you: The Korean War is not forgotten. The Koreans will never, ever forget the services and sacrifice of your brothers and husbands, and your fathers and grandfathers.”

See Also


Two Koreas, U.S. Celebrate Anniversary of Korean War Armistice

Digital Textbook on Korean War to Be Produced for U.S. Schools


Featured image via Visit Hudson

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Pyungkang Hospital 2

Pyunkang Hospital Has the Craziest (Best) Health Commercials

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Are you tired of the same-old medical infomercials that portray people doing fun things in slow-motion while the narrator calmly lists uncomfortable symptoms like diarrhea, acne, diabetes and impotence?

Pyunkang Hospital charges headlong into the wonderful mucous-filled world of sinus infections, atopy and asthma with their wacky and gross commercials. For a clinic that practices traditional Eastern medicine, Pyunkang Hospital has a very non-traditional approach to advertising their services.

Their infamous ads, which sometimes play in movie theaters, often feature an animated character experiencing some kind of allergic distress in a humorous situation.

You can watch an English-dubbed ad to get an idea of what they’re sharing with the world.

You can watch all three seasons (yes, seasons) of the ads below.

Pyunkang Hospital even began airing live-action ads.

This following ad, however, has been garnering criticism for being too gross and blatantly suggestive. *NSFW warning has been issued.*


H/T to Kotaku

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SBS Documentary Reveals Inconsistencies in the Lee Jung-hee Case

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

A new documentary segment shedding light on the controversy surrounding Lee Jung-hee and her two unnamed American-born sons is raising serious questions about their claims of sexual abuse, which went viral last month.

The SBS-produced program, We Want To Know The Truth, has built a reputation since 1992 for their unbiased investigative reporting on current events, from government to social issues. In its July 25th episode, the show investigated Lee’s allegations of her and her sons being drugged, raped and prostituted by her pastor ex-husband and extended family members, but found a number of suspicious incidents in the case.

For one, the show’s producers discovered that Lee has a deep faith in Korean shamanism and has been corresponding with a mysterious “Shaman Kim.” They also found that Lee’s ex-husband, who was accused of bribing the police and media in order to silence Lee’s story, now makes a humble living delivering pizzas. He claimed had no idea about her latest allegations.

In light of the new details, Korean netizens have become livid over what they now deem a complete scam. Most of Lee Jung Hee’s online supporters have abandoned the #HelpLeeJungHee effort, and the blog that had sought to raise awareness of Lee’s story is being shut down by its eight admins. It remains to be seen what will happen to the funds the online community raised for Lee and her two sons’ legal fees.

On July 16, a Busan court granted Lee full custody of her children, but police booked the mother the following week on suspicion of child abuse. Police claimed that Lee had “brainwashed” her sons with details of sexual assault in order to testify against their father in court and accused the mother of not sending them to school since arriving in Korea last year. Lee was ordered to keep at least 100 meters away from her sons until further notice.


Here are the most important details included in the July 25th We Want To Know The Truth episode. You can view a more comprehensive breakdown here.

Tracking Down Lee’s Ex-Husband


In March 2015, We Want To Know The Truth producers tracked down and met with Lee’s ex-husband, only identified by his surname Huh. They found him living by himself in a small apartment in Busan and working as a pizza deliveryman without any idea of the controversy surrounding him.


Huh told the producers it had been over two years since he’d seen his children. He claimed that Lee had raised the sons for 10 years in the U.S. and “changed little by little” after she returned to Korea in 2006. Coupled with Huh’s violent temperament and incidents of physical (not sexual) abuse to his wife and oldest son, Lee eventually filed for divorce. After a year and a half-long case, the court granted custody of their children to her based on Huh’s history of abuse.

According to Huh, Lee only began accusing him of sexual abuse, drug use and prostitution after he appealed the ruling and asked the court for permission to see his children twice a month. As for being part of a cult, Huh said he was indeed part of a church (not a cult) many years ago, but it’s been eight years he left due to a dispute with his father.

In a series of Nate Pann posts, Lee and her two sons had also accused Huh of filming them getting raped and posting them on the Internet. However, when police conducted a surprise raid on Huh’s apartment and other properties he had ties to, they could not find anything to back those claims. In fact, they found home videos of the family enjoying vacations during the years Lee alleges the abuse took place.


The Mysterious “Shaman Kim”


Huh and Lee’s sister both claimed that Lee has shared a close relationship with a traditional Korean shaman, surnamed Kim, for over 10 years.

Lee apparently believed that Shaman Kim’s ritual healed her from an unknown illness in 2004. Since then, Lee has been calling Kim her teacher. Huh said the family started falling apart at that time, as Lee donated tens of thousands of dollars to the shaman for expensive rituals and ceremonies.

When asked about Shaman Kim, Lee denied her involvement in the case.

Lee and Her Sons’ Odd Behavior


During a walk through her old neighborhood with the cameras rolling, Lee accused a random man of knowing her ex-husband and being one of the many people who raped her and her sons. When the police arrived after responding to the man’s call, Lee gave her younger son a cell phone and instructed to call his brother and “tell him everything is OK.”

Producers, however, became suspicious–knowing that the older brother was unable to communicate with his family at the time since he was receiving treatment at a mental hospital. Their suspicion deepened when the younger son returned after a short conversation on the phone and told Lee that his “brother” said, “It’s OK, the man isn’t a scary person so just sue him later and let’s leave.”

Later on, the producers left Lee and her sons alone in a room under the pretense of taking a five-minute break. As soon as the crew left the room, the trio began discussing whether or not they were “persuasive enough” in telling their stories. After they realized the microphone was still on, the mother and sons became even more visibly nervous.


Psychologists, Experts Weigh In


Psychologists from various universities agreed that Lee’s sons were not like common victims of sexual abuse due to the way they described past incidents. One expert said the children didn’t seem to exhibit any trauma or distress when describing sexual intercourse, adding that the sons may have lifted their descriptions from R-rated movies.

Other psychologists said Lee and her sons all could not explain incidents of rape and drug usage in convincing detail.


The younger son didn’t help ease skepticism when he drew a smiley face at the end of this written testimony. Some psychologists said that either the story or the smiley face is not genuine. Experts unanimously agreed, however, that the testimony the younger son wrote was likely fabricated.

Psychologists also agreed that Lee and her sons were telling the truth regarding their father’s physical abuse and violence, which Huh did confirm.

See Also


Lee Jung-hee Booked on Suspicion of Child Abuse

Lee Jung-hee, Sons Make Online Plea for Help


Screenshots via Koreaboo

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Lee Jung-hee Booked on Suspicion of Child Abuse

Above image: Lee Jung-hee (center) appears in a June 23rd YouTube video with her two sons.

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Lee Jung-hee, a South Korean woman known for being a victim in the “Three Hats Rape Case,” has been booked by the police on allegations of child abuse, according to Yonhap News.

In late June, Lee and her two sons (17 and 13 years old) posted a series of disturbing blog posts on Nate Pann under the username “Please Help Us.” Lee, who revealed her full name, accused her pastor ex-husband of physical abuse and rape over the past 20 years. She also accused him of drugging and prostituting their sons, who are apparently American-born, for the past decade. Lee’s story soon sparked an international social media campaign under the hashtag #HelpLeeJungHee.

On July 16, the Busan Domestic Relations Court granted Lee full custody of her two sons, rejecting Lee’s ex-husband’s appeal for a new trial regarding their divorce. However, police booked Lee on Thursday under the suspicion of alleged child abuse. Police claimed that Lee had “brainwashed” her sons with grisly details of sexual assault in order to prep them for testifying in court, according to Yonhap. They added that she did not send her children to school despite the fact that her sons arrived in Korea late last year from the United States.

After ruling that Lee’s presence was harmful to her sons’ mental health, police ordered the single mother to keep at least 100 meters away from the hospital her sons are residing at until further notice.

Recently, there were rumors that Lee and her sons were kidnapped and forcibly admitted to a mental hospital by their extended family after leaving court. However, police debunked these rumors and clarified in an online statement that Lee and her sons had agreed to undergo psychiatric evaluations at a hospital in Gyeonggi province.

On Thursday, SBS crime documentary series We Want to Know released a preview of an upcoming episode that delves into the case of Lee Jung Hee. You can watch the teaser below.

See Also


Sexual Abuse Survivor Lee Jung-hee, Sons Make Online Plea for Help

Nan-hui Jo Released on Bond from Immigration Detention 


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