Korean woman discharged without conviction over assault

A Korean woman who flew into a rage after discovering an associate had defrauded her of more than $100,000 was discharged without conviction by Judge Kevin Phillips in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.

Yujin Jeong (29), IT manager, admitted assaulting Hyun Kyung Kim in Queenstown on February 2 at a youth hostel.

Prosecuting Sergeant Rob Mills said Jeong and Mr Kim booked into a youth hostel on January 23 and had ''small arguments'' relating to money for the duration of their stay.

However, on February 2 the victim was in the foyer of the hostel, when Jeong approached him and slapped him ''several times in the face''.

The defendant then left the hostel and was followed by the victim at which point she physically ''lashed out at him'', before kicking him in the leg, Sgt Mills said.

The victim received scratches to his face.

Duty solicitor Mike Newell said his client had met the victim in Korea and had been ''persuaded'' to give him a large amount of Korean money - equivalent to more than $NZ100,000 - to invest on her behalf.

''She had just discovered that he had not invested the money,'' Mr Newell said.

''She had requested the money back and that's what prompted the assault.

''When she returns to Korea ... she will instigate proceedings against the victim with police in Korea for fraud.''

Mr Kim was understood to still be in New Zealand, but could not be contacted by phone.

Mr Newell said Jeong, who had never appeared in court before, was remorseful for her actions and accepted responsibility for what she had done.

Judge Phillips said, given the circumstances of the matter, he did not believe a conviction was appropriate.

''I see that here she must have lost her self-control totally as a result of this man's ignoring her requests ... [over] a large sum of money,'' Judge Phillips said.

He believed she had ''clearly'' passed the test for a discharge without conviction, given her culpability was at the ''bottom of the heap''.