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Private detective businesses permitted beginning this week

All News 15:29 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.

Students of a private investigator academy pose for the camera in this file photo provided by the academy. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Students of a private investigator academy pose for the camera in this file photo provided by the academy. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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.


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