One of South Korea’s best-known actresses, Ok So-ri, has been given a suspended prison sentence of eight months for adultery.

South Korea is one of the few remaining non-Muslim countries where adultery remains a criminal offense.

A person found guilty of adultery can be jailed for up to two years. More than 1,000 people are charged each year, although, as in this case, very few are actually sent to jail.

The law has been challenged four times, but the country’s top judges have always ruled that adultery is damaging to social order, and the offense should therefore remain a crime.

Supporters of the law claim adultery undermines the social order, and say the law protects women’s rights in marriage.

Its opponents claim the law is often abused as a means of revenge or securing greater financial divorce settlements; and say in reality those who suffer under the law are most often women.

According to a survey carried out last year, nearly 68% of South Korean men and 12% of women confess to having sex outside marriage.

Source: BBC

This news was educational for me because I didn’t know that adultery was considered a crime in South Korea. The percentage of men who cheat in South Korea (68%) seems quite high compared to the US (25%). A person should not commit adultery, but making it a crime is too extreme. Criminalizing something is easy, the root of the problem should be attacked instead.

Further Reading:

Adultery (Wiki)


12 thoughts on “Adultery is a Crime

  1. Christianity in South Korea can be even more extreme than some right-wing evangelical groups in America. While living there, Jehovahs witnesses and their ilk would come by my apartment just about every week. The only other religion widely practiced is Buddhism, and its adherents are generally less vocal in political issues.

    1. JJ,

      haha I am glad you liked it 🙂

      – – –


      It sounds surprising given that most people have no religious preference (46%) and only 29% are Christian, but I can see how a small group of vocal people can exert some influence.

  2. Ahh the good old BBC, I hate MSNBC’s site so I usually get my news from the BBC, I read about this last week.

    Poor woman, the law seems very stupid and archaic and that seems like rather a high percentage for the guys.

    Are so many Korean men not satisfied in their marriage?

    1. Indeed, BBC has some solid and interesting articles.

      I don’t know why the rate of adultery of South Korean men is so high. Here are some statistics:

      – Average age of the first marriage is 31.1 for men and 28.1 for women
      – Fourteen out of 100 couples who married in 2005 were international couples
      – The largest group of South Koreans marrying foreign spouses has been men who marry Chinese, Vietnamese or Filipina women.
      – In recent times, about one third of South Korean men in rural areas married women from abroad
      Arranged marriage (Seon) is popular in South Korea.
      Remarriages are becoming more common in South Korea.
      – Still anchored in Confucian values of family and patriarchy, South Korea is fast becoming an open, modernized society with the world’s highest concentration of Internet broadband users, a pop culture that has recently been breaking taboos left and right, and living patterns increasingly focused on individual satisfaction.
      – As of 2004, 458 couples divorce each day, at an average age of 41.3 years for men and 37.9 years for women.

      Source: Wiki

  3. Yes it is true that making adultry will make you ended up in prison…
    Thank you for trying to understand the culture…but honestly…you can’t gain these knowledge or absolutly believe what these sites say about anythings…

    Making it right most of the times doesn’t make it right…

    If you have the time or the people around you, i’d rather have you ask some Korean friends you guys might have..

    And of all the major errors i’ve seen,
    I had to correct this at least…

    KOREA DOES NOT PRACTICE CHRISTIANITY As THE MAIN RELION. Nor it reflects as a guideline for the Korean culture. The things in Bible might come close or seem similar to the things you might see in your culture, but we do not follow christianity as our cultural, moral belief.

    And yes Korean culture started out to be male oriented…so there are still minor fixes to be made, but in everyday lives there are no sexual inequalities.

    Happyness of the marriage…and divorce rates are rising…but to me that’s not only the husbands’ voice rising, it’s the wives’ voices to find better lives for themselves, at least that’s what i’d like to believe.

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