Apr 28, 2013

Korea: Retirement Age of 60 May be Mandatory for Most Companies

The Korean National Assembly, in a move that leaves many of my U.S. and other Western colleagues and clients bewildered by the lack of understanding of the contributions provided by those in their 60s and 70s, has agreed to mandate that the retirement age in Korea, for most companies, be set at, at least, 60 years old.

The revision is meant to protect older workers. Many companies impose retirement ages of 55 and many even impose lower retirement ages.  

The revision will still need to make its way through two committees and, also, reach a vote on the National Assembly floor.

Other articles that may be of interest:

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Korea Maritime Liens: The Arrest and Attachment of Vessels at Ports

The arrest of vessels/ships in Korea is a common tool to satisfy judgements against debtors.  Korean courts allow the ex-parte arrest of ships.  The court, normally, does not request from the Korean counsel of the creditor/claimant evidence of how long the ship will remain in Korean waters, as is, sometimes, the case in other neighboring jurisdictions.

We find Korea to be a much easier destination for arresting vehicles than many other Asian nations, because of the efficiency focus of the Korean court system and the less than efficient other Asian jurisdictions.  Typically, the arrest action will take a few days to complete. 

The major ports in Korea that an arrest may be executed at are: Busan ,Jinhae, Incheon, Gunsan, Masan, Mokpo, Pohang, Donghae, Ulsan, Yeosu, and Jeju

ARREST OF FOREIGN VESSEL IN KOREAN WATERS
There are two different ways to arrest a vessel in Korean waters. 

1.  Preliminary Attachment
The Korean Civil Enforcement Act allows the arrest of a ship or attachment of an asset through a preliminary attachment.  The attachment, normally, requires the posting of a security.  The amount of the security is, normally 10% to 15% of the claimed amount.  Often the court allows the posting of the majority of the amount in the form of a bond.  Normally, the court will not grant a preliminary attachment if a maritime lien is available to the complainant.  Foreign parties, often, have a difficult time obtaining a bond in expedient fashion.  We have, even, failed to obtain bonds for some foreign creditors. 

2.  Maritime Lien
A creditor or claimant in Korea may exercise the right to arrest a vessel.   The Korean court, under Korea's Conflict of Laws Act, will look to the law of the nation of the vessel's flag.   Normally, the court in Korea will not grant a preliminary attachment if a maritime lien is available to the complainant.

A maritime lien, in Korea, is also available for time-chartered vessels, sister vessels and even when an arbitration clause exists.

ENFORCEMENT OF AN ARREST ORDER
The sheriff of the court, upon the disposition of the court, will arrest the vessel by serving on the ship master the notice of arrest and, also, attaching the order to the vessel.  It is, also, advisable to arrange with the sheriff to advise the port authorities to not allow the vessel to leave the port.

Upon arrest, in most cases in our experience, the owner of the vessel or charter party will provide a letter of undertaking from the the P & I club of the arresting party.  The arresting party is not required, under Korean law, to accept the letter of undertaking and many demand 100% of the claimed amount in cash before granting the release of the vessel.

In order to obtain information of the release of an arrested ship in Korea, please refer to our post entitled:  Release of an Arrested Vessel in Korean Waters.

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Apr 18, 2013

Foreign SME's will now may be Qualified for Free Economic Zones

In an attempt to spark a resurgence in Foreign Direct Investment in Korea, the Korean government has proposed the development of Mini Free Economic Zones.  These zones are an attempt to attract SMEs that supply parts to Korean companies.

These Mini-FEZs are expected to charge rent far lower than market value in Korea, offer tax incentives, while offering no fee leases for companies that bring into the country technology and invest over USD 1 million in the local economy.

The exact details of the plan are not known.  I will update the readers when more details become known.

I suspect that the plan will, also, be a benefit to companies already in Korea that are looking to modernize facilities.


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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Apr 14, 2013

Korea Legal News for the Week of April 7

This Week's Legal News Reported by Media

Most Recent Posts from The Korean Law Blog

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Apr 10, 2013

Should Companies in South Korea be Worried about North Korean Threats?

North Korea has ratcheted up its propaganda.  The situation is the most tense, since I first came to Korea in the mid 1990s.  However, most of my friends and colleagues, that have lived in Korea far longer than I, are not concerned.

For these old Korean hats, North Korea is simply rattling its little saber, since the tension between the North and the South allows the North Korean population to have an increased sense of nationalism and loyalty to Kim Dynasty; when North Korea, in the past, shook its rattle, the international community provided more foreign aide and the international community increasing accepted the Kim Dynasty as a legitimate government.

Most of these old hates believe that North Korea will never invade the South, since an invasion will, simply, lead to the total destruction of the Kim Dynasty.  The saber rattling know is simply to appease the North Korea's population, obtain more foreign aide and obtain a peace agreement in order to obtain more legitimacy. 


I agree with these old hates and, thus, I don't worry about the new round of saber rattling, I only worry that the South Korean, Japanese or United States will misconstrue the saber rattling and launch a "preemptive strike" that could lead to a small volley of missiles hitting Seoul and Tokyo.

All signs point to these governments not reacting in any way other than the reaction in the past -increased recognition of North Korea as a legitimate government and additional foreign aide.

Maybe the answer is just to ignore and let the North play its hand.

What do you think?



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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Apr 9, 2013

Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office Arrests South Koreans Responsible for Aiding North Korean Cyber Attack

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office has announced that they have arrested the owner of a South Korean-based company and its employees for violation of the National Security Law. The owner of the company was arrested and detained and the owner's older brother and the employees of the company were arrested, but were released pending further investigation.

The arrests were, apparently, in relation to the recent cyber attacks by North Korea and, also, the alleged operation by the arrested of an illegal gambling site, futures trading site and spam email program.

The prosecution has alleged that the technology for operating these sites and programs were obtained from a North Korean hacker that works for the North Korean governments Reunggrado Information Center and that part of the profits was shared by these individuals with the North Korean government or agents of the North Korean government.

Reunggrado Information Center may have been behind the recent cyber attacks.

As I have noted in numerous articles in local vernaculars, the North Korean government has agents and sympathizers throughout South Korea. Hey - one even ran for president.

Is this reality reason enough to maintain the National Security Law?
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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

IPG Legal's New Law Blog: Korean Entertainment Law Blog

IPGs new law blog the Korean Entertainment Law Blog may be found HERE. The attorneys and entertainment law professionals at IPG Legal will be posting three to four post per week on issues related to Korean Entertainment Law.

We are looking forward to hearing comments and to have questions asked of us. Topics that will be addressed will include legal and business issues related to:
  • K-Pop
  • Korean Films
  • Korean Screenwriters
  • Korean Producers, Directors, Studios & Technical Staff
  • Korean Actors & Actresses
  • Korean Television
  • Korean Recording Companies
  • Korean Censorship & Defamation Laws
  • Korean Intellectual Property Law
  • Korean Copyright Law
  • Korean Fair Use Law
  • Korean IP Infringement Actions
  • Remedies for IP Infringement
  • Korean Trademarks & Trade Secrets
  • Korean Patent Law
  • Korean Merchandising
  • Korean-Tailored Agreements
    • Actor, Writer, Director Contract
    • Television Contracts
    • Korean Music Agreements, Band & Symphony, Band-Agent Agreements
  • Korean Manuscript, Copyright, and Royalty Clauses, Accounting, Warranties, Assignments
  • Arbitration Clauses
  • Dispute Resolution
Please try to be patient this is a new law blog. We will be dealing with all of the following general issues over the next six to nine months and, then, we will begin to handle more specific issues.
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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Apr 3, 2013

Korea's New President and the North Korean Issue by Tom Coyner

This week South Korea has a new beginning, with a new president who promises change - she is the nation’s first female head of government - while providing continuity as a member of the same party of the outgoing president. But as the old saying goes, “The more things change, the more things remain the same.”

That is to say, in spite of contemporary events’ cosmetics, the fundamentals remain remarkably constant. I was reminded of this fact during my monitoring of an email roundtable. Last week I sent out an essay by American columnist and part-time politician Patrick Buchanan. Like a number of U.S.-based scribes who pretend to understand a great deal more about Asia than they actually do, Buchanan wrote a rational, appealing piece that was based on a slim understanding of Korea.

Essentially, Buchanan asked why North Korea’s nuclear test should be an American crisis in 2013? His point was that given how strong South Korea has become both economically and militarily, why can’t America just go home and let the Koreans solve their own problems now that American forces have been here some 60 years? After all, the Cold War is long over and Kim Jong-un is South Korea’s problem - not America’s! His essentially isolationist pitch ended with a Lord Salisbury quote: “The commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.”

I disagreed, pointing out that the recovery costs from a possible second Korean War - even just the post-war costs - would cost America much more than the costs of maintaining U.S. forces in Korea should the U.S. abrogate its diplomatic and moral obligations to stand clear of a second Korean war. (One may also consider a peaceful resolution towards unification but we will get to that theoretical point below.)

Shim Jae-hoon, the doyen of foreign correspondents in Seoul, entered this conversation by asking, “Why is North Korea so bent on developing nuclear weapons?” He pointed out that North Korea does not need nuclear weapons to entice the U.S. to replace the Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty. However, a peace treaty remains an end objective of the North Koreans. With a peace treaty, it would be difficult to rationalize maintaining large U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula.

Shim reminded us that when Saigon fell, Kim Il Sung asked Beijing to back him in making a second attempt to militarily conquer the South. Mao turned him down, but the overall strategy remains the same with Pyongyang as it once was with Hanoi.

To be sure, it is unfair to compare today’s South Korean Army with the old South Vietnamese forces. Regardless, the communist strategies remain the same. In fact, when one considers the so-called failed state of the North operating in its parallel universe for the past 60 plus years, one can see through Pyongyang’s propaganda.

North Korea has very limited options for its ultimate survival. It knows it will be overwhelmed by South Korea’s development and will be eventually absorbed by Seoul through peaceful unification, as was the case of the two Germanys, but even more so.

North Korea holds just one card for its long-term survival: Coax the Americans out of Korea and then blackmail South Korea through its nuclear arms or, if necessary, try to capture South Korea by military means.

As farfetched as that may seem, when reality is viewed from north of the DMZ, that is the only option. The rest is a purposely confusing mishmash of window dressing and red herrings that may incidentally provide badly needed aid to prop up North Korea until it can put its master plan into action.

Returning to the opening adage of this essay, things in Korea have not changed since the founding of the South and the North. It sometimes takes old men, who were young men at the time of the Korean War, to remind the young of the underlying fundamentals.

And that brings me to my final point. There has been much handwringing about outgoing President Lee Myung-bak’s “failed” North Korea policies. But given the above-reviewed realities, he has been much more realistic than his “Sunshine Policy” predecessors. After the sinking of the Cheonan and the shelling of the Yeonpyeong island near the Northern Limit Line, Lee revised the orders of the day: If fired upon by North Korean forces, South Korean forces were ordered to return immediate fire, including using air power as necessary. From that moment, there has been peace.

So as President Park Geun-hye looks forward to the coming five years, she and the rest of the nation should also keep an eye on the past. Wishful thinking in itself is not a prudent perspective. Genuinely failed policies from the right could lead the South Koreans into developing their own nuclear arms and thereby initiate a major breakdown of nuclear non-proliferation in Northeast Asia and possibly around the world. Or, equally disastrous failed policies from the left could cause South Korea to fall into North Korea’s trap.

As the cliche goes, North Korea offers only a choice of bad options. In the end, the Korean War continues in its long armistice, waiting for one of the two Korean states to crumble.

Tom Coyner is Senior Advisor to IPG and President of Softlanding Korea. 
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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com

Korean Information and Communications Network Act: Personal Data Protection in Korea

Under the Korean Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, Etc. ("ICNT") a Government Notice, that entered into force last month, mandates all the major information services providers and data centers to become Information Security Management Systems certified.

The Notice was a reaction to security breaches that may have revealed confidential information of users of various websites.

The Notice requires all press agencies, on-line shopping malls, web portals and the like with revenue of over KRW 10 million or over 1 million users to become certified or face shutdown and a KRW 10 million fine.

Those required to comply with the notify must be certified by the end of this year. We predict that it may take up to four months for a site to be certified compliant according to a consultant we work with. The new law may be welcomed by foreign and domestic internet security companies and web consultants, but will be a real headache for companies that believe they have already put in place a system that securely manages the personal information of users.

What do you think? Overreaction or necessary in the age of North Korean cyber attacks.
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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com

IPG is engaged in projects for companies and entrepreneurs doing business in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam and the U.S.

www.ipglegal.com