I am Segi Lee, who is currently working as the head of the data research department at the Korea Migrant Workers Human Rights Center. I am providing various labor-related consultations to protect the human rights of migrant workers who have come to Korea and are working in the 3D industry. We are working to provide counseling for non-payment of wages, severance pay, and labor laws, as well as remedies for all rights of migrant workers who are being violated in relation to medical treatment and assault. Through this, we are striving for a world where migrant workers can live together with the restoration of their rights that are being violated in Korean society.
I recently received an emergency rescue call from the Sri Lankan community. It was a call that Mr. Freyanta Malal from Sri Lanka was unfairly on the verge of arrest. In other words, it was reported that the company placed defective products in the living room of the dormitory after obtaining permission from the director and the factory manager, but was arrested for theft. As soon as I got the call, I went to the Gimpo Police Station where Freyanta Malal was imprisoned with a Sri Lankan interpreter to understand the situation. The first impression I felt after interviewing the police officer in charge at the police force gang was that I was not able to adequately defend myself due to my status as a foreigner, leading to a situation of requesting a warrant. The detective in charge told me that, as the results of the investigation showed, the investigation results were certain to be theft.
I met Mr. Freyanta Malal in the detention center and listened to him. Freyanta Malal has consistently said that she has obtained permission from the director and the factory manager to take the defective product, and that she will send the defective product to her parents in Sri Lanka. He said that he was able to confirm that the product he brought was a defective product, and that he simply followed the instructions of the director and the factory manager that he could take it.
Preyanta Malal’s testimony is also a testimony, so I went to △△△ Co., Ltd. located in Gimpo, thinking that I should meet the business owner. I was able to meet the △△ △ representative, but I was very angry. I proposed an agreement so that, if possible, restraint could be avoided. However, the △△ △ representative was more angry at the ‘negligence of Sri Lankan migrant workers’ than the fact that they took defective products. During Chuseok, I have to work with only three days off, but I condoned a series of incidents, including complaints about leaving work after taking a week off and fighting with each other in the dormitory, and Freyanta Malal was injured and could not work for a week. The response was that it couldn’t be done. I apologized a few times and asked for mercy, but the representative of △△△ refused to talk further, repeating the words ‘I will never leave the Sri Lankans alone even if I have to go to the Supreme Court’.
When I met the police officer in charge, I felt that the flow of investigation into the case was not very different from that of the business owner. At any rate, I thought that there would be a problem if the investigation was conducted based on one side’s unilateral statement. It became even more heartbreaking after meeting the representative of △△△.
During that time, I have met many migrant workers and employers and provided various labor consultations. At that time, I could see that one side’s unilateral remarks or statements would cause harm to the other side. In particular, due to the status of migrant workers, the unilateral statements and remarks of the employer are recognized as true, and the fact that there is a culture dominated by defiance, ignorance, and cynicism because of coming from a foreign country or coming from a poor Asian country. I think it adds a bit. If Freyanta Malal had been able to communicate freely and had sufficient ability to understand Korean, the results would not have been as it is now. Also, if I had known more about Korea’s corporate culture, I would not have been accused of being a thief and would not have gotten into a worse situation.
Preyanta Malal is currently a legal resident (E-9-2) and is a migrant worker who has worked diligently at the company. I think he must have been the object of much expectation and envy from his family and colleagues until he came to Korea. Then, as the investigation says, he could not escape the temptation of theft, so he temporarily touched the product or, as the director and factory manager said, he can take the defective product. If his behavior is a problem, it can be called a problem.
It is said that desire cannot be a sin. Everyone has desires. When they see an object, they want to take it, and they want it as their own. Moreover, the more the product is related to real life, the more desire it will be. I think Freyanta Malal had a desire that any human being could have. If there is a sin that has not been committed, it will be a sin. I think he came from Sri Lanka, an Asian country, and tried to stack up and send defective products to his parents in Sri Lanka, as he said, after getting permission from the mover and the factory manager. I sincerely hope that this is the case. I earnestly ask you to take this into consideration so that Mr. Freyanta Malal can have time to reopen as a freelancer.
Reyanta Malal is a migrant worker who has been in Korea for 10 months. His status is also a legal resident. Once again, I ask for your help in helping him maintain the minimum standards of human manners, including the right to suffer and be harmed by cultural differences and language problems when he comes to Korea. He is now a migrant worker who is only 10 months old. I really don’t want him to fall victim to the one-sided logic of a company because of his unreasonable communication. I ask for mercy again.
October 31, 2006
2nd Century Raised

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