By Lee Hyo-sik
A 23-year-old migrant wife from Vietnam has been booked without physical detention on charges of attempting to poison her mother-in-law, police said Tuesday.
According to the police in Gwangju, the Vietnamese woman, who settled in the southwestern city after marrying in 2008, is suspected of seeking to murder her 69-year-old mother-in-law Friday by putting poison into the older woman’s bowl of rice.
A police officer said the migrant wife decided to kill her mother-in-law because she was verbally abused and constantly ignored by her. But the wife’s murder attempt failed when the mother-in-law discovered the meal was poisoned and reported it to the police.
The mother-in-law later appealed for leniency from law enforcement officials after her daughter-in-law asked for forgiveness, the officer said.
Experts say this incident shows how problematic interracial marriages have become between Korean men and Asian women.
“I seriously doubt that the Vietnamese woman actually attempted to poison her mother-in-law. I think it was more likely that she was framed by her mother-in-law. If the migrant wife was found to have committed the crime, she did so because she was severely abused by her Korean family,” said Han Kuk-yom, the chief of the Women Migrants Human Rights Center.
Han then said the majority of international marriages brokered by private matchmaking agencies have ended in failure due to financial hardship, cultural differences and other reasons. The incident shows that the country has to do something drastic to fix this growing problem, she said.
“The fundamental problem is that Korean grooms and foreign brides tie the knot when they hardly know each other. It is difficult for them to know one another before marriage, given the way it is arranged. The government has to strengthen its supervision of matchmaking agencies to force them to put the welfare of brides and grooms before profits,” the expert said.
Many matchmaking agencies have been criticized for failing to properly check the financial and mental health of the bachelors.
Han then advised both men and women to obtain accurate information about their spouses-to-be, and to lower expectations for each other.
“International marriages have a much lower probability of success, compared to the ones between same nationals who speak the same language and share the same culture. Korean husbands and foreign wives should respect and treat each other well,” she said.
Kwon Mi-kyung, counseling director of the Emergency Support Center for Migrant Women, urged Korean men to avoid marrying foreign wives through matchmaking agencies.
“About 30,000 Korean men tie the knot with mostly Asian women each year through marriage brokers. But 30 percent of them end in failure. The main reason is that brides and grooms get married even though they do not know each other well. This will continue as long as matchmaking agencies arrange all the international marriages,” Kwon said.
The center, established in 2006 to help foreign women cope here, is affiliated with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. Besides its headquarters in central Seoul, there are six other branch offices across the nation.
Kwon said following a series of domestic violence cases against migrant wives in recent years, the government has introduced a range of regulations aimed at preventing “problematic” international marriages.
“But they are simply not enough,” she stressed.
The government has imposed stricter rules on issuing F-2 spouse visas, requiring Korean men to take extensive educational courses to prepare for an international marriage before inviting their foreign spouses to join them in Korea.
Those seeking a foreign spouse are also required to present certificates of their marital status, health and employment, as well as any criminal record when they sign up to find a wife through a marriage agency.
베트남 이주 여성이 시어머니를 살해하기 위해 밥에 쥐약을 넣은 사건이 발생했지만 가족들이 선처를 호소했다.광주 남부경찰서는 9일 시어머니 밥에 쥐약을 섞은 베트남 이주 여성 A(23)씨를 존속 살인 미수 혐의로 불구속 입건했다.
A씨는 지난 5일 오전 10시께 광주 남구 백운동 자신의 집에서 시어머니 B(69)씨의 밥에 쥐약을 넣어 먹이려 한 혐의다.
시어머니 B씨는 밥이 파란색으로 변한 것을 이상히 여겨 먹지 않고 버린 뒤 쥐약이 섞였다는 것을 알고 며느리를 경찰에 신고했다.
경찰 조사 결과 A씨는 베트남 집에 돈을 보내주지 못한 문제로 시어머니와 갈등을 겪다 이 같은 일을 벌인 것으로 드러났다.
A씨는 2008년 20살의 나이로 한국 남편 C(35)씨를 만나 결혼했다. 이후 A씨는 지난 1월께 첫 아이를 출산했다. A씨와 시어머니 B씨는 언어와 문화적인 문제로 마찰은 있었지만 심한 고부간의 갈등으로 이어지지 않았다.
하지만 최근들어 남편 C씨의 수입이 줄어들어 베트남 처가에 돈을 보내주지 못하자 C씨와 시어머니 B씨가 말다툼을 벌이면서 갈등이 불거졌고 결국 A씨는 극단적인 행동을 벌이기에 이르렀다.
그러나 시어머니와 남편은 A씨의 선처를 호소하며 경찰서를 찾아왔다.
경찰 관계자는 "7개월 전에 첫 출산을 한 A씨가 아기를 기르면서 우울증상을 보였고 2층에 사는 시아주버니 가족까지 돌보게 되자 불만이 많이 쌓인 것 같다"며 "A씨가 시어머니 밥에 이물질을 섞은 것은 잘못된 행동이지만 가족들이 용서 했다"고 말했다.