Hannu Salama: Kosti Herhiläisen perunkirjoitus
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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
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Saturday, May 08, 2004


Reading stories like this (Chosun Ilbo) about a young woman becoming a sex slave due to unpaid loans from loanshark make me think of this "financing" business keeping acquaintance of mine who himself went bankrupt and disappeared. I have no knowledge of him ever doing things like this, but he was willing to "earn money in the Gumi way", of which typical was keeping a "ticket coffee house".
In the article, a student first guaranteed a curb loan of her friend, and later went to get a loan in order to pay her own credit card debts. Her friend disappeared, and her debts began to add up, interest add on interest.
그러던 중 먼저 300만원 사채를 빌려쓴 친구까지 잠적해 버렸다. 박씨의 빚은 자기 빚 400만원에 300만원이 더해져, 원금 700만원에 그동안 붙은 이자까지 계산해서 2002년 12월경 1000만원을 넘어섰다. 그리고 2004년 2월, 전체 빚은 1억2000여만원. 어떻게 해서 400만원이 2년도 채 못돼 1억2000만원으로 불어난 것일까.
The loansharks' method of expanding the debt sum is evilishly complicated (I'll have to take a look at it later), and looks like the intention would be to have the indebted woman to be forced into prostitution.
예를 들어 80일의 상환기간 동안 일수로 40만원을 갚는다는 조건이라고 해보자. 만약 어떤 이유로든 이 40만원을 하루라도 빼먹고 갚지 못하면 그 날부터 상환기간이 끝나는 80일까지 매일 1부로 이자 계산을 한다. 극단적인 경우 80일이 시작되는 첫날부터 40만원을 갚지 못했다고 하면 이자 4만원(40만원의 1부)×80일=320만원으로, 이자만 320만원이 순식간에 늘어나고, 다음번 80일 상환기간에는 원래 있던 원금에 320만원 이자가 더해진 금액이 다시 원금이 되는 것이다.
She was called into the loanshark office where she was beaten and finally forced into prostitution.

If this was a Kim Ki-duk film the woman forced in prostitution would have fallen in love with the loanshark-pimp.

(Continues - got to attend a friend's wedding)

So it never happened that I returned to make sense of the way the loansharks manage to make a 7 million won debt to grow to 120 million W in two years.

Two clarifications to the above post:

Making money in the Gumi way; with that my acquaintance meant taking part in the entertainment business, of which there are a lot in Gumi, "ticket coffee houses" included. Much of that entertainment industry is actually prostitution - concentration of manufacturing industries in Gumi has brought a lot of men there.
Ticket coffee house; the Korean word for "coffee house" means actually "tea room" (tabang), but tea is secondary and the main drink in those places is coffee, served by "coffee house girls" (tabang agassi), who sometimes are engaged in prostitution. "Ticket" (the word used in Korean) means that a customer uses the company of a tabang girl for a certain time and pays for that to the tabang. The following explanation is from my notes; I ask, my acquaintance answers.

-- So what is this ticket tabang thing, how does it work? -- When a girl does a lot of delivering she may become closer (ch'inhaejida) with a customer, and then the man may ask the girl to accompany him/them when going to a noraebang or when going out… but when a girl leaves tabang to go out with someone she cannot do deliveries, so the man who asks the girl to go out has to pay a "fine" to the tabang, and that's usually more than the tabang would earn by the girl's deliveries, not necessarily but usually. The fine is 20 000 won an hour, or 250 000 won for the whole day. Whatever the girl may earn by herself during that time, that's her own income. And the girl is paid a monthly salary by the tabang, about 100-150 man won (1-1.5 mil. won), even 200 man W, and the tabang gets the ticketing money.

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