I'm writing a story and I'm asking for factual accuracy in the storyline. (Not asking for suggestions in hiring an actual PI.)

I know for a fact that it's now illegal in Korea to hire a Private Investigator ("Detective") for purposes such as tracking your spouse to see if they're cheating, etc.

However, is hiring a Private Investigator for a CRIMINAL TRIAL possible? To collect evidence and maybe track down a potential witness or suspect. In the US it's not only legal, but common, to hire a Private Investigator to collect evidence and interview people.

If hiring Private Investigators is not allowed, then what's the closest option besides the police? Is the police the only other option for collecting evidence like so?

My story really needs someone to do the evidence collecting, witness interviewing, and suspect-tracking-down job.. How can I make this work? I heard that attorneys don't really do jobs like these.. Do I need to make it so that the police takes care of these things?

Thank you, I don't know where else to ask. I might ask over at /r/legaladviceofftopic or something..

  • Are you asking if it is legal for the police to bring on a private investigator as some type of contractor vigilante (a la Batman comics), or are you asking whether a private citizen (e.g. the victim of an alleged crime, or an activist) can do so? Aug 25, 2019 at 14:49
  • @robert Columbia , hm. Well, I heard that an attorney can be involved in hiring a Private Investigator to search for evidence and to "interview people with info". I'm not sure of the details..
    – BeardWix
    Aug 25, 2019 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


It is illegal to advertise yourself as a "Private Investigator." However, businesses under the name of "흥신소(background checkers)" is legal and their scope of operation is hard to distinguish from that of Private Investigators.

Therefore, it is not illegal to hire someone to collect evidence, interview witnesses as long as those actives are within the bounds of law, and as long as the person you hire does not advertise himself as a "Private Investigator."

If I were you, I would contact one of those "흥신소" or "심부름센터."

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