The Seoul city government has unveiled a set of plans aimed at helping expatriates in Seoul fight discrimination and mistreatment and better cooperate with locals in dealing with residential issues. Under the plan, the city will hire transla- tors who specialize in law in order to support foreigners who are engaged in lawsuits due to discrimination based on race. Along with these officials, the city plans to hire expatri- ates fluent in Korean to have them provide more general translation services at hospitals and district offices. One can register for the translation service at the Seoul Global Center in Jongno, central Seoul. In February, the Seoul Metropolitan Govern- ment set up a team in charge of promoting human rights for foreign residents and now plans to use the resources from that division to come up with human rights support ser- vices exclusively for expatriates. Officials will also establish four free shelters across the city where foreigners who are jobless or have family disputes can stay. The city has yet to an- nounce a specific time frame or locations for these shelters. The city will also allow foreign residents from different countries to select representa- tives to form an expatriate council from 2015 forward. The representatives will regularly discuss neighborhood issues and inform the city government of the results of those meet- ings. Seoul said in the statement that the content of those discussions will be reflected in its pol- icies. The new initiative is intended to more actively include foreign residents in commu- nity and town meetings. Despite the fact that the number of foreigners living in Seoul has surpassed 390,000 and has continued to in- crease, expatriates are usually excluded or not informed of town meetings. In addition, a large cultural institute that promotes the cul- tures of countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will open by 2018. Only a handful of relatively wealthy countries can afford to open cultural centers in foreign countries. In Seoul, there are 13 cultural centers. The municipal government did not announce the specific list of countries that will be included in the integrated cultural center, but stressed that they will be non-OECD members. “The focus here is diversity,” said Cho Hyun- ok, head of Seoul’s women and family policy division. “We tried to reflect diverse ethnic groups and aim to serve all foreign residents through a wide range of programs and poli- cies.” Authorities have arrested the owners of a pil- low factory in Daegu over allegations that they habitually abused a mentally disabled worker and pocketed his wages, estimated to be about 40 million won ($39,080). The Daegu Metropolitan Police Agency said the owners, identified by their surnames Jang and Yu, are suspected of enslaving a 50-year- old mentally handicapped man surnamed Lee from January 2012 to October 2013, and sub- jecting him to extreme working conditions at their factory near Seomun Market. The victim is severely mentally challenged, with the mental capacity of a 7-year-old and an IQ of around 70, officials said. “They treat- ed him like a slave,” added a source from the police. “He barely slept four hours a day.” According to police, the suspects forced Lee to sell the pillows on the road and abused him when he couldn’t reach the target quota. When he finished his work, he apparently slept on the factory floor without heating, even during the winter. Lee reportedly escaped from the premises in November, after which he lived on the street. Police were alerted to the case in January after they were told that a homeless man had been seen sleeping on a road near the market. They added that they had also indicted a man surnamed Seo and his wife for their in- volvement in exploiting the victim. A police report stated that Lee had met Jang and his accomplices in May 2011 when he was working at a factory in Buk District, Daegu. Lee had allegedly left his home 12 years earli- er and had been living alone since. After noticing that he was intellectually disa- bled, Jang, Seo and his wife convinced Lee that they could help him find a Vietnamese wife. They forced him to borrow 9.3 million won from a lender for the purpose of wedding ex- penses and the arrangement fee. After stealing the money, Seo and his wife handed Lee over to Jang to work at the pillow factory. Despite the fact that Lee worked at the facto- ry for nearly two years, area residents claimed they never noticed anything unusual. The au- thorities said they are expanding their probe. sEoul’s plANs will AssisT ExpATriATEs policE ArrEsT Two suspEcTs ovEr worKEr ExploiTATioN 25 The Seoul Metropolitan Gov- ernment announced yesterday that it would offer 900 public jobs to the homeless as part of a comprehensive plan to help them socially rehabilitate. About 500 posts will be di- vided among those 65 and old- er, the disabled and those who are ill. They will be tasked with cleaning facilities that serve the poor and the community, as well as with meal preparation. The city government will com- pensate those workers 26,000 won for four hours of work per day. They will be allowed to work 15 days per month. For those who are younger and healthier, Seoul is expected to create 400 new jobs, which will involve cleaning up public parks and facilities, managing green belts and supporting the welfare operations of the city. They will receive 43,000 won per day, for five days of work a week. In a related move, the govern- ment will also open up a shared workplace in June near Seoul Station and Yeongdeungpo Sta- tion, where the homeless are known to gather. There, home- less workers will be in charge of simple manufacturing opera- tions, such as the production of shopping bags. Sixty people who prove to have a strong and sincere work ethnic will later be given a chance to run their own street market in collaboration with various companies. sEoul ANNouNcEs plANs for homElEss