Friday, October 06, 2006

Foreign actors in "The Host" deported

Payback (From the Marmot)

The Dong-A Ilbo reports that immigration authorities have handed down deportation orders for actors David Anselmo and Clinton Morgan, both of whom appeared in Bong Joon-ho’s blockbuster “The Host,” for violating Article 20 of Korea’s immigration law, namely, that you must get government permission before engaging in activities other than the ones specified in your sojourn status.

Morgan, an Australian, was on a English teaching visa and employed at a university in Suwon, while Anselmo, a Canadian, was on a 90-day tourist visa.

Good news for the both, however.  If they pay a 1 million won fine and leave Korea, they can return anytime they like.  If they fail to pay the fine, however, they would be forcefully deported and barred from reentering the Land of the Morning Calm for 3-5 years.  Which would suck.

Mr. Morgan, however, was still pretty pissed.  He told the Dong-A (warning: retranslating from Korean here), “Restricting activities besides those marked on your visa is a narrow-minded policy… I don’t want to come back to Korea.”

Actually, I feel bad for the guys.  I can see how they might have to pay a fine, but a deportation order?  For appearing in, what, the highest grossing film in Korean cinema history?  You’d figure just for their contributions to Korea’s film industry the authorities would go easy.  Guess not.  Hope they get some good legal help.

Someone elses remaks...


My favorite part of the sneering disdain many Koreans have for those foreigners who, for whatever reasons, decide to come to Korea instead of some other place, is the self-hatred behind the idea that such people have “nowhere to go but Korea”, or that only “low-quality” expatriates would choose this place.

Anyway, for the two actors, or for Mrs. Vershbow, all of the trouble could have been avoided simply by asking for permission to engage in some activity outside the scope of the original visa. In all cases, provided the foreigner has permission from his/her “owner” (think of yourselves as indentured servants or chattel slaves, and you’ll get the idea of the immigration department’s attitude toward foreigners resident in Korea, and whose rights they ought to be protecting), the immigration department is usually pretty generous about granting additional permission for work.

Free legal advice for the day: If you’re here in Korea on a visa, of whatever kind, ask yourself whether the economic activity you intend is permitted by the visa you currently hold (the answer is usually “no“), then go about getting the additional permission — in the form of an endorsement to your current visa — necessary to do it without getting deported.



Back in the eighties, when Chun Doo Hwan was having the film industry crank out cautionary tales about dalliances with Itaewon’s foreign devils, there were always some white ninnies willing to play villains in the films. Two Europeans that I know of fell victim to the xenophobia they had helped whip up: immigration deported them. I agree with Hans: poetic justice.
But my guess is the Immigration turned a blind eye to Morgan and Anselmo for a couple years, then decided to boot them out before they turn into bona fide “talents”.

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