The Seoul Central District Court said on Friday that it had sentenced the embassy official to 18 months in prison for falsifying official documents and violating the immigration law.
The embassy official was found to have issued fraudulent visas to Pakistanis who lacked the required documents on 20 occasions from April 2015 to January this year.
To receive visas from Korea’s overseas embassies or consulates, nationals of certain countries are required to submit invitations, affidavits certifying identity and business registration certificates from people engaged in regular economic activity in Korea. Citizens of those countries, such as Pakistan, face stricter visa requirements because many of their nationals stay in Korea illegally.
The embassy official, who assisted the consul in charge of visas, was found to have misused the consul’s intranet ID and password upon the request of a Pakistani acquaintance.
In his ruling, Judge Lee Sang-joo said the official had betrayed the trust bestowed upon him for the execution of his public duties and had caused confusion in immigration affairs. Therefore, he concluded, a strong punishment was necessary.
The judge added, however, that he had taken into consideration the fact that the official had not gained anything personally as a result of his crimes, and that he had admitted them and expressed remorse.
Two Pakistani nationals, including the person who had asked the official to issue the fraudulent visas, received 10-month jail terms suspended for two years.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)