Editor's Picks National

Scam artists caught on camera staging accidents!

James Hyams
Written by James Hyams

A new style of con is spreading across South Korea and it could cost you thousands of dollars.

Korean con artists carefully select a vehicle to run out in front of and pretend to get injured by the supposed collision with the car.

They make a scene, the police arrive, and it usually becomes the con artists word against the drivers.

Con artists target specific individuals who appear to be new drivers, those who drive as their job, those violating a traffic law such as speeding or failing to pay attention to the road, truck drivers, or ladies under the presumption the police will perceive as inferior drivers.

The more experienced scammers work in groups so that the person pretending to be hit by the car has witnesses that confirm their story. This forces individuals into a position where they pay the fraudster to prevent further legal action.

Many con artists have extorted thousands of dollars from unsuspecting drivers who usually want to avoid getting the police or courts involved.

“Police estimate one con group they arrested in Cheongju made 541.45 million won from using this scamming technique 81 times. That is nearly 6.7 million won scammed from each victim”
Police estimate one con group they arrested in Cheongju made 541.45 million won from using this scamming technique 81 times. That is nearly 6.7 million won scammed from each victim.

Another scammer in Chungcheong Province made 18.6 million won($17,200) by extorting from 16 victims. A more sophisticated group rented a car as a prop for this con and managed to extort 30 million won and repeat this scam 7 times before police caught them.

There are many more cases where the police have caught fraudsters such as these.

Dash-cam footage obtained by the Korea Observer from the public domain demonstrates men aggressively jumping onto the bonnet of a slowly moving car and smashing the windscreen with their hand before rolling off the bonnet and yelling as if they had been run into.

Other footage from YouTube clearly shows some lazy scammers who lack the enthusiasm to make a substantial effort. Several dash-cam clips show Korean scammers running toward a stationary car. They then lay on the bonnet or on the ground in front of the vehicle.

When the scammer tries to argue that they were hit, the driver often points at their dash-cam and the offender runs away.

One fellow who tried this scam was not so lucky. He can be seen to pretend to fall in front of a Korean lady driving a small car. She then accidentally drives over the top of him. He can be heard screaming in agony while she slowly continues driving in disbelief that a speed bump had somehow got under her car.

Those engaging in this scam face up to seven years imprisonment or a 15 million won fine.

It is essential that any expat driving in Korea have a dash-cam to avoid being unfairly sued for hitting pedestrians.

About the author

James Hyams

James Hyams

James Hyams juggles several careers including being a journalist and a social worker. James has an avid interest in 'telling it as it is', exposing matters of public interest, and reviving investigative journalism in the new digital era. Testimony to this is his thesis titled: “U.S. Government secrecy and the withering watchdog: Is WikiLeaks the answer?”

  • hi_there

    She “accidentally” drives over him?! Did the person who was run over die?

    • James

      When information becomes available on that I will let you know.

    • Lindsay Şoricelul-Teu Belton

      To be fair, if you look where she’s looking when he lay down in front of her car, there’s no way she even saw him lay down. It’s quite possible she thought he’d gone off somewhere else, rather than being aware that he was laying in front of her car, when she started driving again. Korean drivers are also pretty notorious for not looking before they go in cases like this, so it’s not incredibly surprising and does look accidental on her part. In the actual dashcam footage (without the annoying music over it), the driver with the dashcam honks his horn when the guy lays down, and the woman likely thought the driver was rushing her to go, whereas she was actually being warned there was a frikkin person laying under her car.

      • Lindsay Şoricelul-Teu Belton

        Also, no other reports I can find say whether the man lived or died. Based on what I know of South Korean media, that means either he lived, or they just don’t know.

  • jeff in korea

    Respectfully, there is nothing new about this. I’ve been in Korea for 26 years, and when I first got here, a lot of longtimers were talking about how it’s been around since the Korean War. The US military even had a word to describe those people, but I can’t remember what it was. It’s just easier to catch because Of cameras on cars and cctv.

    • Informed

      Hi Jeff. Sure, this scam has been around for a while but the amount of people taking it up and applying it in a sophisticated way (with groups of witnesses) is very new. The old scam was very simple.

Click here not to show this pop-up box again.