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)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(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.” (Read more South Korea stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results  |