‘The Hunger Games’ Theme Park to Be Built on Jeju Island

Maybe it is just me but it seems like there is something inappropriate about a “Hunger Games” theme park considering the movie involves teenagers hunting each other to the death:

Audiences that raved about novel-based science fiction adventure film franchise “Hunger Games” will be able to experience the thrill at a theme park on Jeju Island.

Landing Jeju Development, a wholly owned subsidiary of Landing International Development Limited, said Wednesday it signed with the United States’ Lionsgate, the franchise’s distributor, to build “Lionsgate Movie World” as part of recreational resort complex Jeju Shinhwa World now under construction.

The theme park, built over 122,000 square meters, will be Lionsgate’s first branded outdoor park and the biggest among the studio’s location-based entertainment businesses.

The park will have seven zones, each themed around different blockbuster movies and featuring reproduced streets and towns, rides, 4D experience halls, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and entertainment performances. The thematic movies include the “Hunger Games,” “Twilight Saga” and “Now You See Me” franchises and “Robin Hood,” to be released next March.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

5% of Korean Adoptees Were Successful in Meeting Their Birth Parents

Here is a good article in the Joong Ang Ilbo about the difficulties Korean adoptees are having tracking down their birth parents in South Korea:

Left: Lida Bouts returned to Korea in February 2016 as an exchange student at Sungkyunkwan University, 22 years after she was adopted by a Dutch couple. Her search for her family failed as there was no response to letters sent by her adoption agency to her birth parents. Middle left: Bouts’ adoption document drawn up in 1993. Middle right: Megan Green as a 2-year-old before an adoption that sent her to the U.S. state of Nebraska in 1986. Right: Green’s adoption document drawn up in 1986. [LIDA BOUTS, MEGAN GREEN]

Korea Adoptions Services collects all family search requests from private adoption agencies. It reports that in 2016, there were 1,940 requests from Korean adoptees trying to find their birth parents. Only 102 of them, or 5 percent, ended up meeting their biological parents. The year before, the figure was 91 out of 2,012 requests, or 4.5 percent.

And such reunions are getting harder with time. Parents who gave their babies up after the Korean War were poor and had no choice – and were more likely to agree to meet them two or three decades later.

But adoptions processed in the 1980s and later often involved single mothers, who were afraid of the social stigma attached to unwed mothers. “They have probably found someone to marry after sending children away for adoption, and now have a family,” said Kim. “They are much more reluctant to be reunited.”

In 2016, 880 children were put up for adoption both domestically and internationally. Of the total, 808, or 91.8 percent, were born to unmarried couples.

“While it is important for an adoptee to trace his or her family roots, it is equally important for parents to keep their privacy,” said an official at the adoption bureau at the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

“We have many single mothers in the country, and a large number of birth parents who wish to hide their adoption records. Many have moved on and have families on their own,” the official continued.

Bouts is frustrated because she has a lot of information about her birth family from the time of her adoption, but can’t do anything with it. “I know full names of everyone, birth dates and even the region they lived in,” she said. “I’m not angry at my birth parents for anything. I can even accept that my parents wouldn’t want to know or meet me. I would just really want to meet my sister.”

Bouts’ adoption document mentions a sister seven years older than her.

“I think it would make me more complete if I would meet them,” she said. “I would like to tell them that they made the right choice and that I’m living a very happy and blessed life.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

I recommend reading the rest at the link.

Investigation Says ROK Intelligence Agency Organized Online Support for former President Park

I agree that the National Intelligence Service should not be organizing people to leave comments in support of a political party, but I doubt this had much if any effect on the election:

A newly formed investigative team in the National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced Thursday that the former intelligence chief, Won Sei-hoon, who served in the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration, orchestrated a smear campaign to help former President Park Geun-hye get elected.

Park ultimately won out against current President Moon Jae-in by a small margin, though it is unclear how much impact the NIS had on public opinion at the time.

The team, which launched their probe last month after Moon became president in a snap election in May, has yet to mention whether it will hand over their evidence to prosecutors or formally ask them to dig deeper, which would likely affect the prosecution’s own trial with Won.

Last week, prosecutors requested a local court hand down a four-year jail term. A verdict is expected to come later this month.

The NIS team said Thursday that Won was found to have led a group of civilians from 2009 to 2012, who were ordered to post online comments slandering liberal politicians and presidential candidates. The group, according to the NIS, was funded through state coffers.

The so-called “commentary troop,” a term coined by the local media, gathered members from all over the country, said the NIS team, from office workers and CEOs to students and housekeepers.

The troop grew over the years, peaking at nearly 3,500 members in 2012 by the time Korea held its presidential election.

Their tasks ranged from tracking North Korea’s espionage attacks on the country’s most popular search engines to leaving right-leaning comments on online posts. Some 200 million won ($177,800) was collectively paid to troop members every month, according to the internal probe.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Famed Director Kim Ki-duk Accused of Sexually Abusing Actress During Filming

This makes me wonder how long he has been doing this to other actresses?:

A scene from “Moebius”

Influential filmmaker Kim Ki-duk is Korean prosecutors’ latest target after an actress accused him of sexually abusing her while filming several years ago.

The actress, 41, whose name was withheld, but known to have worked in Kim’s film “Moebius” (2013), recently sued him through the Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office. Prosecutors then launched an investigation, according to reports Thursday.

The actress didn’t sue until recently because she thought her career could be jeopardized. After she quit acting early this year, she told the Federation of Korea Movie Workers’ Union of the incident and sued Kim.

She said Kim slapped her during the filming in March 2013 to “help her get in the mood” and forced her to perform a sex scene in a way that wasn’t in the script. Embarrassed, she quit the role.

The movie’s production staff supported her claim. The union quoted the witnesses as saying Kim slapped the actress “three times” and demanded she grope her co-star’s penis while shooting the scene. She originally believed a replica would be used. She argued with Kim over the scene but eventually gave in.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Gwangju Kindergarten Student Remains in Coma After Being Trapped in Scorching School Bus

This is a really horrible story about a boy trapped in a locked bus in Gwangju:

Officials from Gwangju’s office of education and local kindergarten groups visit a 5-year-old boy who was left behind on a school bus for more than seven hours on July 29, 2016. He has yet to regain consciousness. [GWANGJU METROPOLITAN OFFICE OF EDUCATION]

Choi was 5 years old when he was left behind on a school bus on July 29 last year. The driver neglected to check whether any students were aboard and his teacher forgot to take roll.

For seven and a half hours, Choi was alone, barely able to breathe in the scorching heat. Temperatures hit more than 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in Gwangju, where he lived, and by the time police found him, his body temperature hovered around 42 degrees. He was unconscious.

Choi now lies on a hospital bed in Chonnam National University Hospital, unmoving except to occasionally cough. In the year since, he has yet to regain consciousness.

Choi is one of a number of similar cases. In January, a 3-year-old was left on her kindergarten bus for more than an hour in Daegu after coming back from a field trip. In February, a 6-year-old boy was left for 40 minutes on a school bus in Gwangyang, South Jeolla. The child was rescued after a passerby called police. In May, a 5-year-old in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi, was abandoned for two and a half hours.

Choi’s mother spends day and night by his side, waiting for her son to wake up. The hospital fees are being covered by the bus operator and the Gwangju School Safety and Insurance Association.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but the bus driver and the teacher were both given a few months in jail for not accounting for all the students getting off the bus.

Vacationers Continue to Trash Korean Beaches

This article focuses on the trash left on Korean beaches, but the litter problem isn’t just isolated to beaches.  This same problem is also occurring in Korea’s mountains where picnickers leave others to clean up their messes as well:

Street cleaners sort trash at Haeundae Beach in Busan, July 29. / Yonhap

From beer cans to water bottles, leftover chicken, watermelon rinds and dirty clothes, major beaches across the nation are suffering from summer vacationers leaving tons of trash mounting daily.

Local governments have stepped up efforts to clean the mess, putting in more manpower and expanding cleaning hours, but had little to no success.

At Millak Waterside Park in Busan, collected trashes during weekdays an average of 2.5 tons of trash is collected each day, according to local officials. This doubles on weekends.

It takes four hours for 10 city street cleaners and volunteers to sort through and properly recycle the trash.

“I’m OK with people enjoying their vacation by eating and drinking near the beach,” said a city street cleaner. “What I don’t understand is why they disappear without cleaning up their mess.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.