Korea - Age of Sexual Consent

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Updated 03-2002:
the korean age of Consent is 19 however Koreans mesuremnt of age is differnt then ours. a korean is one year old 100 days after being born and ages a year very lunar newyear there after. so a korean 19 may actully be a western 17 or 18 depending on when the person was born the simplicity is people born in the same year are the same age. So if you know someone under the age of consent in korea you have to wait until everyone turns a year older on the lunar new year. thanx

EDITOR:  We don't have any evidence to support this position.


Updated 01-2001:

Source:  http://www.ilga.org/Information/legal_survey/asia_pacific/south_korea.htm

*Laws covering sexual activity     Same-sex male     Legal
                                                   Same-sex female   Legal

Description of discriminatory sexual offence laws and their application
Homosexual acts between consenting adults are not an offence. According to South Korea's London Embassy,
"homosexuality is rare in Korea and for this reaon it has not been necessary to frame laws relating to it" (IOC/1995). Legal
position confirmed by 1983 Report of Hong Kong Law Commission.

Age of consent
Same-sex male     13
Same-sex female   13
Heterosexual         13

The age of consent for heterosexual, lesbian and gay relations is set at 13 (Odysseus 98/99:Helmut Graupner)

EDITOR:  This source is based on 1998/1999 Odysseus Travel Guide which we can't confirm.








Legislation against child sex tourism

Laws and regulations which can be used to:

  • prohibit or prevent the organization and advertising of sex tours and trips
Act on the Punishment of Sexual Crimes and Protection of Victims thereof
Anti-Prostitution Law


Subject: South Korea-Age of Consent issues           (FEB 2001)

I think that there are foreigners describing Korea as something like a country of free sex like Japan. NOT TRUE.

The age of consent in South Korea is NOT 13. Practically, as of 2001, the age is 19. Since July 2000, the Megan's Law is active in South Korea. According to the new law, personal information (address etc..) of sexual offenders will be put on the Internet for 6 months. Law applies to prostitution,rape,semirape,sexual harassment,disseminating child related material(real "porno" is illegal in Korea) etc..and foreigners should be very careful since the cutoff age is 19 NOT 18.  The '13 years' refers to 'statutory rape' which is a really serious crime. the earlier '18 years' seems to refer to Penal Code,'Sexual Relationship with a Minor'. However, new law precedes. In a recent case, a married adult woman was caught sleeping with a male high school student. The husband dropped the adultary charge and the court said it couldn't find any evidence that the woman paid
the boy for sex. The woman was set free(although the old penal code would still apply). Currently, the law is very lenient on women and very harsh on men.

If the age '13' were true, then why were so many people arrested and sentenced and served prison terms for doing sex with minors in the long past? Therefore:   Foreigners should be extremely careful.   What tha age '19' means: College students of the second grade are about 19 years in many cases. Traditionally , the adult age was 20.  In the outside world it is 18. So a compromise was made to 19.   Example: a male foreigner gave some gift to a 18-year old college girl and then made sex. Result:  1)The foreigner might get up to 3 years in jail.  2)Personal information will be posted on the Internet for 6 months.
3)The government of the country where this foreigner came from will get notice of this fact.

Of course, the whole thing is not illegal in most countries since the woman is over 18 years old.  Even outside age of consent issues, there are many laws in Korea which relate to sex:

Adultery is a complaint-based felony up to 2 years in prison.
Seduction into sex by deception of marriage is also a crime.
Purchasing prostitution is ALSO a crime. There are no legal whores or pimps in Korea. Prostitution was only legal during
the japanese colonialship(to sexually exploit Korean women).
Pornography(even adult) is illegal even if minors totally uninvolved.

Regardless of whatever stories you might heard in the past about  South Korea, BE CAREFUL!!!!!! Yes there are many whores of all ages and types (against the law), but once you get caught your life is ruined.

Foreigners should go to Japan where the law is more lenient, or stay home. Yes Japanese are very open related to sex but don't think Korea is the same way just because the two countries are adjacent. Koreans and Japanese are TOTALLY DIFFERENT in all aspects.   So are Korean and Japanese laws.

An exeption would be marriage, of course. Age of marriage is just like in other countries; 16 with parent consent, 18 otherwise.
As for child porn: There have been only 2 isolated cases in which no adult was involved at all. Recently, a minor was arrested running a pedophile site using pics from the outside world. That's all.  Contrary ot what a "foreign official(female)" said, the movie "Lies" is NOT child porn. The depicted acts are 100% legal in most countries since the high school girl is depicted as in the last grade and 18 years old and therefore paid sex would be legal.   Another thing requiring attention: The Korean youth is currently rather hostile against grownups. Crimes against older people   including those resulting in death are increasing.

In the future, please post correct information or nothing at all. At least, you cannot fuck a 14 year old girl (without any kind of
compensation of course) and remain unpunished. If your information  were true:    )Past cases in which adult males served prison terms for getting sexually involved with minor females over 13 but below 18 (of course without any compensation whichsoever)could not be explained. Related criminal cases have occurred all the time.      2)There would have been legislation to lower the age of consent for uncompensated sex to 13. There NEVER HAS BEEN such a thing.

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  Yes, and perhaps we should all bury our head in the sand so that we make sure to never get wrong information .. because no information is certainly better than the wrong information isn't it?  No, its not.   ANY information is better than NONE.  You have criticized the info we list, although we list the source.  YOU have not provided us with ANY source material other than your comments.    I don't know about the readers and researchers who use our site daily, but I would rather have SOME information ... even if that information is skewed.]

What I have not mentioned in this mail is the current political climate in South Korea. This is because your site is a professional
law site, not a political one. Just one thing to remember is that the old penal code was sufficient   As for homosexuality, there have been no laws against it. History   shows that there was at least one gay king, so Korea is lenient. What you should do at this point: I am no law specialist nor do I have a law book here. Please change the 'Korea' fields to (unknown) until you have an opportunity to see the actual law in force after July 1,2000 and lots of searchable newspaper articles. At least, the materials you referred to are outdated.Or set it to (19/18?).

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  We received this email February 19, 2001 -- certainly many months after July 1, 2000.]

Otherwise, your site seems to be relatively informative.   PS) please don't reply; I don't check this mail account. The reason
that I am writing this mail is to save foreigners from getting their personal information put on the Internet due to wrong information.


[EDITOR'S NOTE -- things we found after receiving the above info]

"In the case of South Korea for instance, the manner in which sex entertainment and sexual servicing
have been integrally built into the country's strategy for economic development is evident. "
From:   http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/Organizations/healthnet/SAsia/repro2/jyoti_sangera.htm

"Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines all have developed into major sex tourism destinations."
From:  http://www.georgetown.edu/sfs/programs/isd/files/cases/Nhma.htm

"Brother Anthony makes a good point about the needless suffering many Koreans experience due to Korean society's suppression of open and informed talk about sexuality issues. There is plenty of Korean pornography and prostitution on the Internet as well as on the streets, alleys and hotels in the major urban centers. Sexual services for U.S. servicemen and wealthy tourists from Japan and other countries are only the tip of the iceberg. Huge red light districts are still doing quite well. Knowledge of AIDS is primarily fear of death associated with posters of the Grim Reaper or his skeletal Asian cousin wielding a hypodermic syringe. Statistical reports of HIV cases and AIDS mortality seem to make news on a quarterly basis or so."
From:  http://www.iic.edu/korean-studies/archive/0010/msg00017.html

"Advisory: Homosexuals in Korea have no established tradition of overtly discriminatory laws to struggle against. There are no
sodomy laws proscribing oral or anal intercourse, largely because these acts have traditionally been considered utterly
unmentionable in any public forum or document. Homosexuality has never been brought before Korean courts. No one has
mentioned homosexuality in any divorce proceedings, job dismissal cases, custody or adoption battles. The number of
homosexuals coming out of the closet is growing every day. Korea witnessed its first lesbian commitment ceremony on
November 27, 1995. Never-the-less, conservative pockets exist in Korean society."
From:  http://www.utopia-asia.com/tipskor.htm

Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation





New Sources of Research:  http://www.kimsoft.com/korea.htm



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