Snitching Pays in South Korea

Government rewards have turned spying on neighbors a lucrative job
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2011 5:28 AM CDT
Moon Seung-Ok is the founder of Mismiz, a paparazzi school that teaches others how to record, report, and earn from illegal activity going on around them.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Crime really does pay in South Korea—at least it does for anyone within lens-range of the criminal. Government rewards and ubiquitous technology have turned Korea into a nation of snitches—or paparazzi, as they are sarcastically called locally—with people able to earn a good living reporting on their fellow citizens for everything from polluting local rivers to blocking emergency exits, reports the New York Times. Reporting a cigarette tosser earns just $5, but illegally garbage dumping is $40, and something bigger like selling livestock without a license can fetch $850. Catching government corruption could earn up to $1.7 million.

“I’m making three times what I made as an English tutor,” said a 39-year-old paparazzo who says he earns $85,000 a year ratting out his fellow citizens. “Some people hate us,” Mr. Im said. “But we’re only doing what the law encourages.”

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