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South Korea

South Korea bans Chinese businessman accused of sexual harrassment on board his private plane

Immigration authorities permanently barred the man from going to the country after he was accused of sexually harassing two women

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2018, 6:26pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 September, 2018, 5:57pm

A court in Seoul has upheld a decision to permanently ban a Chinese businessman from entering South Korea after he was accused of sexually harassing two women.

The Seoul Administrative Court ruled on August 31 that the entry ban imposed on the businessman last year remained valid, after he challenged the South Korean immigration authorities’ decision.

The court document, made public this week, identified the man only by his surname, Wang.

Wang is believed to be an executive from Nanjing-based Jeshing Group, according to unconfirmed South Korean media reports. The conglomerate has interests ranging from real estate and retail to tourism. Jeshing did not respond to a request for comment.

In May last year, the Korea Immigration Service told Wang he was prohibited from entering the country, saying the businessman “may act against the interests of the Republic of Korea and public safety”.

The ban came after Wang was accused of sexually harassing a female South Korean flight attendant and a female secretary in two separate incidents, both of which took place on board his private plane, in February and March 2016.

The two women reported their cases to South Korean police. Wang later reached private settlements with the two women and the prosecutors suspended the indictment against him.

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Wang then filed a legal challenge against the immigration department’s decision, saying there was no risk he would repeat the offence and he would not cause any harm to public safety.

But the Seoul court upheld the ban at the end of last month, saying he had taken advantage of his position of authority when he harassed the two women.

“A foreigner who used his work-related position to harass Korean women does cause a concern that he may take actions that compromise Korea’s interests and its public safety,” the court document said.

“The public interest of not allowing Wang, who harassed Korean women, [to enter South Korea] outweighs the individual benefit to Wang [of being able to go to the country],” it said.

It is unusual for South Korea to block entry to a foreigner over such a case.

Jeshing has business links in the country – it opened an office there last year and has launched a joint project with South Korean underwear firm SBW to build a resort complex on the southern island of Jeju. The group’s website says it began as a retailer and expanded into home furnishings, real estate and tourism and now has businesses in Australia, South Korea, Vietnam, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.