NEWS “without comment”

 As Private Detectives Become Legal, Police Move to Prevent Abuses

 2020-08-04: The South Korean government has put forth measures to protect personal information and prevent infringement of privacy as private detectives will be allowed to legally charge for their services starting Wednesday.

According to the National Police Agency on Tuesday, in addition, it will launch inspections of such businesses and crack down on unauthorized collection or leaks of personal information and infringement of privacy.

This comes after revised laws on the use and protection of financial information, which are scheduled to take effect on Wednesday, omitted a clause that essentially banned for-profit private detective businesses.

The police stressed, however, that private investigators will still be limited in their evidence collection and determining the whereabouts of those suspected of illegal acts.

For instance, they will not be allowed to collect evidence on spouses suspected of improprieties or track down debtors who have absconded.

The government is also looking to adopt a system to issue licenses for private investigators.


 Private detective businesses permitted beginning this week

August 04, 2020 – SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap)

Private detective businesses will be officially permitted in South Korea, beginning later this week, following the parliamentary passage of a relevant legal revision early this year, the nation’s police agency said Tuesday.

A revision of the Credit Information Use and Protection Act is to take effect on Wednesday, removing the ban on the use of the term “private investigator,” called “tamjeong” in Korean, in business or personal titles, according to the National Police Agency (NPA).

Despite deregulation, however, the scope of private investigators’ activities will be strictly regulated due to the need to protect private information and prevent privacy infringement, the NPA said, vowing to crack down on illegal operations of private detective service providers.Contrary to public perception, private investigators will still be prohibited from collecting evidence in criminal and civil cases and locating the whereabouts of fugitive offenders, the agency said. They will also be banned from collecting evidence on cases under investigation or trial and from gathering data to prove a spouse’s cheating, for instance, it explained.

Likewise, tracking down the whereabouts of runaway debtors or spouses can run counter to the Personal Information Protection Act, it said.

The NPA said private investigators’ activities permitted under the revised law include finding the locations of runaway children and youth and missing persons.

Collection of published official information on behalf of clients and confirmation of the locations of stolen, lost and hidden properties will continue to be allowed regardless of the legal revision, it added.

The police agency asked clients to be careful not to entrust private detectives to conduct illegal missions.

The agency also said it plans to introduce a certified private investigator system to prevent illegal acts by local detective service providers.