South Korean authorities have pledged to make Korean men looking to marry foreign women undergo a cultural education program after a Vietnamese woman was allegedly killed by her husband in Busan.
"Those with a history of mental illness or a violent crime record and those who have married and divorced foreign brides three times or more will face restrictions on applying for visas for their would-be brides," Moon Soo-Yong, a ministry deputy director, told AFP.
The move came after 20-year-old Thach Thi Hoang Ngoc was stabbed to death by her South Korean husband, Jang Do Hyo, who had a history of mental problems, on July 8, just eight days after arriving in South Korea to live with her new husband, according to the Korea Times, which cited reports from the Busan Saha Police Station.
Ngoc was beaten and stabbed to death in her house in Busan after quarreling with her 47- year-old husband, the Korea Times said, adding that the husband told police that he had been instructed by a ghost to kill her during a fight the couple was having.
Make me a match
Statistics from the South Korean Consulate General in HCMC show that around 27,500 Vietnamese women had been granted marriage visas by 2008 and around 8,000 such visas were granted in 2009 alone. This means around 35,500 Vietnamese women had migrated to South Korea for marriage by the end of 2009.
Many of these marriages were arranged by illegal brokers, who put women up on show at human supermarkets.
In a famous case, Ho Chi Minh City police arrested a man caught displaying 65 Vietnamese girls to two prospective South Korean grooms in an allegedly illegal marriage brokerage scam in 2007.
Following many such cases, the International Organization for Migration (IMO) and the South Korean government collaborated to set up a website, www.vovietchonghan.org, on Vietnamese and Korean customs laws and how they affect cross-cultural marriages.
Police requested an arrest warrant for Jang on murder charges July 9, the paper said, adding that investigators were now questioning the husband about the brutal beating and stabbing.
Ngoc married Jang without knowing he had undergone psychiatric treatment for depression and mental illness 57 times since 2005, South Korean media reported.
Ngoc's parents, Thach Sang and his wife Truong Thi Ut, were informed of the death on July 9.
Ut told Thanh Nien Ngoc had met Jang, her husband, on February 7 via a brokerage firm, whose name has not been released. She said the wedding was held ten days later in Ho Chi Minh City.
Before the wedding, Jang's family gave Ngoc's family VND3.8 million (US$199) and rented a car to bring her family to HCMC.
Ngoc's family comes from Thoi Hoa B Hamlet in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho's Co Do District, where they live with 300 other ethnic Khmer families. Most of them are poor and many in the Mekong Delta area have seen their daughters marry husbands from Taiwan and South Korea in recent years.
But several cases of Delta women marrying foreign men through brokerage services have ended in tragedy.
In 2008, Tran Thanh Lan, 22, of Hau Giang Province reportedly committed suicide in Kyongsan City just 25 days after she went to South Korea with her husband Ha Jang Su, whom she had been married to for six months.
Vietnamese media reports said she had become depressed after failing to integrate into the new society. The reports also said there were suspicious circumstances surrounding her death, pointing out that she had requested to get divorced a week earlier and that her husband had already bought her a ticket home.
In 2007, Le Thi Kim Dong of Can Tho died while allegedly attempting to escape from her husband's house in Daegu Town, some 400 kilometers from Seoul. The pregnant woman had allegedly suffered maltreatment at the hands of her husband's family, Vietnamese media reports said.
In upholding the 12-year murder conviction of Huynh Mai's husband known only as Jang chief justice at the Daejeon City trial Kim Sang-jun said he hoped the incident would not give Vietnamese people a poor image of South Korea, according to the local Hankyoreh newspaper.
The paper quoted him as saying: "We [the South Korean people] should cordially and sadly confess the brutality hidden in our hearts."
"No one told Jang who his bride would be nor what her expectations would be and Jang himself did not make any effort to find out... We cannot blame Jang alone. This is something that was caused by the immaturity in our society, by which foreign women are regarded as objects that can be imported."
"We wanted to seek forgiveness from the victim's family for the brutality in our society. It is regrettable that we've had to make the ruling without informing her family."