South Korea Is Paying Paparazzi $180K to Expose Corrupt Officials

In South Korea, a new law will pay wedding-crashing vigilante paparazzi a handsome bounty of up to 200 million won ($181,691) to hunt down corrupt officials.

Their mission is to catch government officers receiving gifts that potentially violate the government’s new anti-corruption law, according to Reuters.

The new law, which took effect on Sept. 28, limits the value of gifts that can be accepted by civil servants, state-owned company workers, teachers and journalists. Meals that can be accepted by officials are now limited to 30,000 won ($27). The value of accepted gifts should only be up to 50,000 won ($45), while cash gifts given on any occasion are limited to 100,000 won ($90). It is known as the “3-5-10” rule.

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Since its implementation, golf course reservations have dropped, weddings receive fewer guests, and groups of diners have begun splitting bills.

The lucrative reward has attracted a growing number of camera-toting vigilantes who target fancy weddings and even restaurants trying to catch guilty officials red-handed.

For those who want to learn the skills of effective sleuthing, some enroll at a school called Headquarters of Reporting for Public Good to receive espionage training.

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“You can get rich and become a patriot at the same time,” school president Moon Seoung-ok was quoted by Reuters as saying to his students.

“You can pick up credit card receipts from garbage at restaurants,” Moon explained to his students. “You need to obtain evidence.”

Companies, on the other hand, have been hard at work in ensuring how they can comply with the strict law.

Receiving a gift of more than 1 million won or receiving a total of over 3 million won worth of gifts in a year is considered a criminal offense and may warrant prosecution.

“You have to look into who you are targeting,” Moon said. “Check obituaries in newspapers to find out who’s holding a funeral among the upper class.”

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