After Danish pressure: Commission investigates adoptions in South Korea
24 January 2023

An unusual commission investigation has begun in South Korea.

The South Korean authorities will investigate whether adoptions to the West have taken place on an erroneous or flawed basis.

The commission started in December 2022 by selecting 34 suspicious cases. As many as 20 of them concerned adoptions to Denmark.

At the beginning of January, the commission dealt with a further 130 cases, and the commission will contact the last adoptees during February and March .

Among the first cases is Louise Kwangs from Denmark. DR has previously been able to tell how the Korean adoption agency, Korean Social Service (KSS), falsified her background information to make the adoption process easier.

ALSO READ : South Korea to investigate international adoption: 'Adopted people around the world wept with joy'

But Louise's case is far from unique. This week, Horisont talks about an adoption scandal that has reached the highest political level in South Korea.

Peter Møller, co-founder of the Danish Korean Rights Group (DKRG), has collected over 300 cases in which illegal adoption is suspected since August last year. He now tells how adoptees from all over the world have contacted him since the good news about the commission 's work was published .

- It's so crazy to be a part of. Thousands of adoptees write and call me, and they are choked with tears of joy, says Peter Møller.

Hoping for a Danish reaction

The next step in the coming months is for the commission in South Korea to call witnesses and review each individual adoption case. The commission also obtains material on the adoptees in the Korean archives, so that a complete picture is formed.

The commission will then begin further investigation, and a commission report with the final conclusions must be ready by May next year at the latest.

Peter Møller and DKRG hope that the investigation in South Korea can boost the debate here at home.

- We hope that the commission's investigation in Korea can also contribute to an external investigation of adoptions being carried out in Denmark, in the same way as is the case in Norway, says Peter Møller.

READ ALSO : Letters reveal that South Korean children were orphaned 'on paper' before adoption to Denmark

In Norway , the government announced last week that it is launching an external investigation into foreign adoptions.

DR has asked the Minister of Social Affairs and Housing, Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil, how she relates to Norway's investigation into the adoptions. The minister will not appear for an interview, but writes in an email to DR :

- It is unbearable to think of children who may have been adopted to Denmark from South Korea as a result of kidnapping or have been separated from their families in some other way.

- Like a number of other countries, we are also in Denmark conducting an investigation into adoptions going back in time. Specifically, the Danish Appeals Board is conducting an investigation of adoptions from South Korea to Denmark in the 70s and 80s in order to shed light on how the Danish adoption mediation from here took place during the period.