At Harris Bricken, we keep close tabs on what is happening around the world, and we know that our friends and clients do, as well. We are happy to provide this podcast series: Global Law and Business, hosted by international attorneys Fred Rocafort and Jonathan Bench, where we look at the world by talking with business leaders, innovators, service providers, manufacturers, and government leaders around the world.

In Episode #57, we are joined by Moses Wanki Park, a barrister and international arbitration attorney at Hong Kong’s Liberty Chambers.

We discuss:

  • How Moses’ service as an officer in the Korean Navy helped instill discipline and the ability to work under pressure.
  • South Korean views of North Korea.
  • Why Moses chose to study and work in Hong Kong.
  • Wigs!
  • How there is no such thing as a typical day at work for Moses.
  • Some representative matters handled by Moses.
  • What’s happening in Korea these days, including its handling of the pandemic.
  • The relationship between barristers and solicitors in Hong Kong.
  • Listening, and watching recommendations from:

We’ll see you next week for another exciting and informative episode when we sit down with Elizabeth Larus to discuss China, the Belt and Road Initiative, Taiwan, and more!

This podcast audio has been transcribed by an automatic transcriber.

Fred Rocafort  0:07 

Global law and global business go hand in hand, but never seem to keep pace with each other. The importance on the global stage of developing and developed nations waxes and wanes, while consumption and interconnectedness steadily increase all the while laws and regulations change incessantly requiring businesses to stay nimble. But how do we make sense of it all? Welcome to Global Law and Business hosted by Harris Bricken International Business attorneys. I’m Fred Rocafort.


Jonathan Bench  0:37 

And I’m Jonathan Bench. Every week, we take a targeted look at legal and economic developments in locales around the world as we try to decipher global trends in law and business with the help of international experts. We cover continents, countries, regimes, governance, finance, legal developments, and whatever is trending on Twitter. We cover the important, the seemingly unimportant, the relatively simple and the complex.


Fred Rocafort  1:02 

We hope you enjoy today’s podcast. Please connect with us on social media to comment and suggest future topics and guests.


Moses Park is a living embodiment of the international trends we cover on this podcast. He is a Korean who went to college in the United States, obtained a master’s in the UK, then studied law and became a barrister in Hong Kong. His practice focuses on cross border commercial litigation and arbitration, covering a broad spectrum of commercial work with an emphasis on civil fraud, asset tracing and recovery, enforcement, foreign arbitral Awards and judgments securities and investment products as well as construction litigation and arbitration. He has a particular specialty in multi jurisdictional disputes involving international parties and matters with a cross border element. His work extends to regulatory fields, providing advice on matters governed by securities and immigration legislation, often involving a mix of private and public law elements. Moses, welcome to Harris Bricken’s Global Law and Business.


Moses Wanki Park  2:16 

Hi, thank you for having me.


Jonathan Bench  2:17 

Moses, welcome. Before your legal career, you were an officer in the Korean Navy, can you please tell us about that experience and how it’s impacted you as a professional?


Moses Wanki Park  2:26 

Yes, as you know, Korea has a mandatory military service. And as part of my military service, I chose to serve in the Navy. So I was a Navy officer for almost about four years. I was a teaching officer at the Korean Naval Academy. So it was a cushy job. But one of the tours that I did, whilst I was in the Navy was to sail halfway around the world because our naval cadet called Mission College students, when they reach their fourth year, they have to sail around the world and learned on the job while they’re sailing. So I was I was part of the the team there. And we started our journey from Busan, Korea, to Vladivostok, Russia, Japan, Vietnam. So there, there were, I think, the 16 ports that we went to. And we went all the way to the Somali waters of the Gulf of Aden where piracy happens. And we were there to set up and, an anti- piracy operation of our Korean Navy. So that was sort of the highlight of my Navy naval career. And as you can imagine, you learned how to discipline yourself when you’re in the Navy, or in the military, and you learn to perform under pressure. So I will say that’s what I got the most from my naval experience, and built me as a professional.


Jonathan Bench  4:28 

And with you being in South Korea, of course, close to the DMZ, I’m always curious, and probably everybody asks you about North Korea, but can you give us a little bit of flair on what you may have learned in your military time about interacting with with North Koreans,


Moses Wanki Park  4:46 

North Korea is always a threat or potential threat to South Korea. It’s unpredictable. So that’s why we have to be ready militarily, even though we see it in the military as a threat, politically and diplomatically, we try to always have peaceful relationship with our northern neighbor. It’s difficult to say because we have to live with our northern neighbor for such a long time as sort of enemy. And, friend, because we’re all Koreans in the end. So South Korean people are immune to having this, this potential threat in the north. So when you wrote in Korea traveled to Korea, you will feel like you are living under this threat, so to speak. So everything is pretty peaceful. There is no war going on. Even though the war, the Korean War has never officially ended.


Fred Rocafort  6:00 

Thanks for that perspective, one of the things that I found interesting when I when I visited Korea was was just how close the DMZ is to the soul when you’re in the city if you don’t feel as if there’s a you know, a cloud of potential violence hanging over you. But of course, once you when you drive up to the to the DMZ right be pretty pretty quickly, you start to realize how close it actually it actually is. Very interesting to hear about the details of your experience in the Navy, I guess you have an even more international profile than I realized. I mean, you know, I would have I would have definitely mentioned that in the introduction had I had I know, I guess all all good material for for a repeat visit to the podcast. But I’d like to ask you about Hong Kong, we were briefly talking about the city when you were in the virtual Green Room. But what prompted you to study and develop my career in Hong Kong, I should mention for our listeners benefit, Moses and I studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong at the same time, and we met during orientation, we were part of a very small group of foreign students. And of course, there was a lot of curiosity regarding what we were doing. They’re studying in Hong Kong, they didn’t seem like such an outlandish idea. I was doing it myself. But the fact that you’ve stayed there, and not only stay there, I mean, you’re you’ve really integrated into the legal profession there. Right. I mean, you’re you’re you’re a real Hong Kong lawyer, you’re not there as other foreign attorneys who, who are sort of floating around the edges of the profession. So what prompted you or what was it about about Hong Kong that appealed to you? When we started out at CU, HK, as students? Did you know, you wanted to stay in Hong Kong? Or was that something that basically an idea that developed once you were in the city and started learning more about it and learning more about the profession there?


Moses Wanki Park  7:58 

From the time that I set my foot in Hong Kong, I knew I want to stay in Hong Kong. Just to give you a little bit of background, ever since I was very little, not knowing, you know, what lawyers do or litigation lawyers do. In particular, I wanted to be a lawyer. So it has been my childhood dream to become a lawyer. When I was studying in the US, I studied political science and government. And when I was studying in the UK, I studied comparative politics. So those subjects are sort of related to law, but not directly. But I knew that after my graduation from my post grad, and upon completing my naval career in Korea, I knew that I wanted to become a lawyer. So when I was in the Navy, I was I was looking at the map, where should I go to practice law? And I didn’t want to given my academic career, and you know, having spent so much time overseas, I didn’t want to practice Korean law. I wanted to do something. cross border related more international. So I was looking at the map. So I don’t want to practice law in Korea. So where should I go? And clearly, I did not want to go back to the US or to England, because I had been away from my family for such a long time that I wanted to stay close to Korea, but at the same time, practice law, and I looked at Hong Kong and Singapore. The reason that I looked at two cities was because I was I was doing some research I found out that international arbitration, the traditional hots for international arbitration, or Paris and London, but around the time that I was completing my naval career, the international arbitration scene was shifting from the west to the east, and Hong Kong and Singapore, were becoming international arbitration hubs. And naturally, you know, international arbitration I was interested in, in it. And oh, well, how about I say, my career in Hong Kong or Singapore. So I came to Hong Kong, looked around for I love the city. I lived in some as you do. And I went to Singapore. I spent some time there. I love the city. It’s a beautiful city, lovely city, but it’s too hot. And it’s, it’s a little further away from my home, Korea. So Hong Kong it is. That’s why I came to Hong Kong. And when I was in UK, in London, I went to London School of Economics for my graduate studies. And the location of the LSE, London School of Economics was very close to Inns of Court, and Royal Supreme Court. So when I was walking around, I saw barristers coming in and out of court. And I learned about the week that barristers after were in court. So that was intriguing. And when I did some research on Hong Kong, I also learned that Hong Kong is being a colony of the UK, or having been a colony of the UK, Hong Kong has the same system as the UK legal system. And Hong Kong, barristers have to wear the same wigs and like, if I can practice law, and wear wigs why not. So that’s why I think.


Jonathan Bench  12:17 

It must be in the back of your mind. If Hong Kong were to implode more, or your skills transferable fairly easily to Singapore, is that where your backup destination would be if you felt like you had to get out of Hong Kong?


Moses Wanki Park  12:31 

I think so. Because 60% of my current practice is Hong Kong litigation. Many of them many of my cases are cross border in nature. And about 30% of my practice, is international arbitration. And I do not this year, and not passed here, because of covid 19. But prior to that, I traveled to Korea, I travel to Singapore, and other parts of Asia to do my arbitration practice. So even though I will not be able to stand in court, in Singapore, but I will still be able to do my arbitration practice anyway. Singapore or Korea, for that matter.


Jonathan Bench  13:26 

So to the extent that there’s a typical day or week for you, can you tell us a little bit about it? I imagine you must be coordinating with solicitors quite a bit from all around the world. I mean, what are the dynamics like in those relationships?


Moses Wanki Park  13:39 

The thing that I love about being a barrister is that there is no typical day or week for me. Because it just depends on how my cases are happening. And I have different cases that I’m working on at any given time. And sometimes I need to go to court in the morning, there’s a hearing or sometimes I have a week of loss of a child that I need to prepare for and standing forward to argue more not. So there’s really no typical day or week. And during the past year, I don’t even go to my chambers. We called our office chambers set of chambers. And I don’t even go to my chambers to work. I just mostly work from home. So there’s no typical day. But if you asked me what I did last week, I had a three day trial that I had to prepare for two three days and the week before. I had a hearing for hearing and In between, I have conference calls with clients, as he said, I need to work with solicitors for court litigation matters, not for international arbitration cases, for international arbitration cases, I can have direct contact with my clients. And I formed my own team to do the work. So I don’t necessarily have to work with solicitors. But for Hong Kong litigation cases, I have to be instructed by solicitors so I do work with solicitors, we do have our internal polls very often. And sometimes I work with not just polpo solicitors but with Korean lawyers, or other lawyers from around the world. So I had zoom calls, almost on a daily basis, political noise solicitors halls with my clients, and just do my preparation work, mostly from home in state. And when there’s a trial, when there’s a hearing I, I go to court, to argue cases on behalf of my clients. And for arbitration cases, I used to travel to different countries, as I said, but now, I did have virtual hearings for arbitration cases.


Fred Rocafort  16:32 

So Moses without of course, violating any of the confidentiality rules that govern the work of all of us, could you perhaps maybe tell us about one or two cases that reflect the kind of work that you do maybe just an injury in very general terms, you know, just to just to know, the kind of matters in which in which you get involved? Again, some very in very basic terms, you know, who are the parties and what the dispute is about, and maybe how long it takes to to sort out these disputes, you know, maybe some anecdotes, you know, that that that could sort of help illustrate what this this type of work is all about.


Moses Wanki Park  17:11 

There is an interesting case that I’ve been working on for the past year and a half, without doing any names, I can generally talk about the case, actually, there’s there are two or three decisions handed down by the Hong Kong court on on this case, so some of the information is in the public domain. So I can have a little bit of a little bit more freedom to talk about the case representing two plaintiffs, one individual, and the other one company instead of by that individual. So two plaintiffs, and we are going after 72 defendants in this suit. Some of them are individual, some of them are companies, one of one of the defendants is actually a subsidiary of a major casino. What happened was my client, or clients, I should say, were defrauded of millions of dollars by the lead client, Assistant. For over two, three years, my client didn’t know that he was being defrauded. Only after two years, he found that it’s because some of the companies were set up and managed by by that assistant, and the finance was being managed by the assistant. And large sums of monies were transferred out from these companies, to individuals that my client did not know at all. And subsequently, some of the monies were transferred to a casino. We suspected there’s there may be some money laundering activities. And we’re still in the investigation stage of it. These individuals are from many different countries, but many of them are from one country. And some of the defendant. Companies are from seven different jurisdictions. So we have been tracing funds in the soil, different jurisdictions and we apply for a disclosure order applications against dozens of banks in Hong Kong, and we’ve been tracing finals, we apply for an injunction. order against all the defendants. So that’s the sort of work that I do on cross border nature.


Jonathan Bench  20:09 

So I’m curious, how do the banks receive that when you’re trying to trace funds across multiple jurisdictions? Are you working from the banks in Hong Kong with those offices are at their corporate level and then making them do the work for you to get access to the funds wherever they might be offshore? Or do you have to go to the HSBC branch in BVI, for instance, in order to to be able to look at bank records that you need?


Moses Wanki Park  20:35 

We apply for disclosure orders against Hong Kong banks first. And if when we found out that some of the funds were dissipated to other banks, then we contact First, the international banks that are in Hong Kong, to see whether we can get any information from there. There are other branches. And we have been working with other lawyers from different jurisdictions to obtain information. But luckily, most of the bank accounts are held with hope hold nice. So we were able to trace bonds that way. But yeah, there are some accounts that are not in Hong Kong. So we’re still working with foreign lawyers to further trace the funds.


Jonathan Bench  21:41 

So Moses, you’re the first Korean guest on our podcast, and we’d like you to put on that hat for a bit. Could you give us an overview for a few minutes of what’s happening in Korea? In particular, we’d love to know how things are going with the pandemic, what’s the state of the economy, any major news stories that people have been talking about? It’s all interesting to us don’t don’t think anything’s too mundane. We’re very interested in what’s going on.


Moses Wanki Park  22:02 

Sure. As you know, Korea is an export led economy. It is a member country of the OECD, identified as one of the G 20 major economies that has a reputation for its high quality manufactured goods, electronics, microchips, and whatnot. You all know about Samsung and LG and other large green companies that produce these goods. And Korea has amazing talent. Korean people are very talented, I’m proud to say and there. They live all in different countries around the world, doing all different things in different industries. I’m very proud of my heritage and the way that Korean people have been performing really well in different sectors. In terms of the Korean Korea’s response to COVID-19 has been very impressive. Korea has had experience dealing with Middle East Respiratory system known as murders in the past and building on from that experience, Korea was able to flatten the epidemic curve quickly without closing businesses by issuing stay at home orders or implementing many of the stricter measures adopted by other first world countries until about until late 2020. And Korea was the first country that came up with the driving test procedure which now has been adopted by many countries. And I think Korea was able to achieve this success by developing clear guidelines for the public from the beginning of the pandemic. And by conducting comprehensive testing and contact tracing. supporting people in quarantine to make compliance easier. Detection was excellent containment was effective, and treatment was great. I have lived in many different countries and in major cities around the world. But in my humble opinion, Korea has one of the best health care systems in the world. And apart from our response to COVID-19 k drama chief food, King jutti duty other things these days, not just in Asia but around the world. pts. I’m very surprised by the fact that people in Europe or in in the US Canada, they go crazy over BTS and Black Pink, a female group of singers. They’re also famous too. So I feel like Korea or Seoul in particular has become the LA of the US. When I talk to people in Hong Kong, both local local people and foreigners living in Hong Kong expats living in Hong Kong. They asked me about Korean dramas that I had no idea about. And they talked to me about Korean movie stars and singers that I do not really follow. It’s great to see that. And it’s great to see people love Korean culture. People love Korean food, our culture in general, I suppose.


Fred Rocafort  25:50 

Yeah you bring up some some very interesting aspects of this. Almost, we can almost call it a Korean soft power. And I’ve also been pretty, pretty impressed by the by the reach I’ve seen, you know, even in Latin America, there are people that are tuning into into Kpop. And that’s great. We always have to somehow bring things back to China on this podcast. But, you know, China has has become so almost divisive term, you know, here in the United States. If it’s not checked, there’s there’s really a risk of that kind of tension really turning into into a more pervasive rejection of things that come from overseas. I see that a lot during conversations about China policy, China trade policy in particular, where sometimes the lines are blurred between what is the challenge, the very real challenge that China presents, but sometimes that just veers into some more general rejection of interaction with with other other economies, other countries, and I think it’s, it’s a good contrast. And I think it’s a good example, to point out to to say, look, I mean, there are countries out there doing great things, setting an example when it comes to them to their management of COVID doing fascinating things, culturally, putting out great products. I mean, the way that I was thinking earlier today about this movie, parasite, right, and how it, it just managed to really break down the traditional barriers that that exists when it comes to foreign film. And one thing that I discovered when I was flying back and forth between the US and Asia a lot that I don’t I don’t do that as often these days. But I found that some of the best movies were the Korean movies, regardless of the airline, whether it was Delta or a Korean Air, they usually had Korean movies, and I, I knew that I would always find something good. So even, you know, way before parricide, I already already knew that the Korean movie industry was putting out fantastic movies, quite frankly, this sort of work that you rarely see here in the United States. Right. And that’s, that’s really saying something I mean, really eclipsing Hollywood, frankly, in in many regards. So So yeah, so I think it’s a it’s a timely reminder that there’s a lot to be to be gained from from interacting with, with other countries and cultures and seeing what they what they have to offer, right. It’s not it’s not all this binary competition, a zero sum type relationship. That’s probably a great segue into our recommendations, which is how we end the podcast. So most as well, I’d love to hear about your recommendations for our listeners, you know, you might have something else but might as well if you can, if there’s some Korean movie Korean artists Korean drama that that do you think we should be looking out for you let us know.


Moses Wanki Park  28:50 

I was actually thinking about the US drama because I spent quite a bit of time watching us drama when I was studying in the US and elsewhere. And rather than talking about Korean dramas, because we already talked quite a bit of it. I want to recommend you billions, which I have been watching lately. It’s a for those of you who are not familiar with what billions is about it is a legal finance drama on Netflix. And I’ve been enjoying it so much. It takes an insider look at the world of high finance a New York City. And by tracking the collusion between two great figures, Chuck rose, who’s the US Attorney of the Southern District of New York, who is hard charging, politically savvy, politically ambitious, on the one hand, and chalking from wealth his father is successful businessmen, she went to a prep school went to Yale, Yale Law. Father also went to Yale family legacy is early on to his father and to chuck. So you have this figure on the one hand, and you have Bobby Axelrod, who is a famous hedge fund manager, who do it at all costs type. Bobby came from nothing. He didn’t graduate from an Ivy League college. He’s a self made billionaire, who was not afraid of any challenges. The thing that grabbed my attention is because it’s law versus money, Justice versus criminals, morality versus in morality. You see the soul of New York indeed, with the balance as part of US Attorney chop rose squares off against a billionaire hedge fund manager, Bobby Axelrod. And what is so interesting about billions is that it becomes murky as the story goes on what justice is, and what is right. Who is white characters in. Billions all have their own agendas. And sometimes their own agendas overtake the sense of justice, the sense of morality, even for those who should be the guardians of justice and morality, and that interface between morality and morality, justice, crime, that is very interesting. And Chuck rose, commit crimes when it suits his needs. And Bobby Axelrod, on the other hand, is sometimes he’s seem to be more moral in the sense, then suppose, suppose he the guardian of justice, so it’s really interesting to Polly’s great characters are very realistically depicted. And acting is just great. So I highly recommend Billions.


Fred Rocafort  32:25 

Thank you for that. Definitely going to add that to my list, you know, with a pandemic, right? There’s a need to keep replenishing the playlist. That’s awesome. Thank you for that recommendation. Jonathan, what do you have for us?


Jonathan Bench  32:39 

My recommendation this week is a piece in the Federalist and it’s called China’s digital currency threatens America’s financial dominance. I picked this because I’ve asked previous guests about China’s digital currency, too big in the news lately. And so this article is a great summary, not a not a super long read, but it hits the highlights as to some reasons why China wanted to roll out a digital currency and also speculate on some reasons why China would roll out a digital currency. So interesting, if you’re into monetary policy at all, or you like macroeconomics, highly recommend that it’s in the Federalist called a China’s and digital currency threatens America’s financial dominance. Fred, what about you?


Fred Rocafort  33:18 

So my recommendation this week is relatively short piece by David French, but this is from the dispatch. And I literally read it right before right before we started recording. The title is, is America living in a 910? moment and 910 in that context, refers to September 10. Right, so alluding to to September 11 2001. And basically suggesting or wondering if we are on the verge of a dramatic event or events in the world that will prove as dramatic as as September 11. Did in 2001. In this particular case, he’s not talking about terrorism. He’s he’s focusing really on the potential of a large scale, conventional war. He alludes to what’s happening in Taiwan, what’s happening in the Ukraine. And I think it’s a very timely reflection. As he points out in the in the article, this, these are really issues that for decades now we’ve sort of put on the backburner. And in a way, there’s there’s almost a direct correlation between our ability to focus on stuff that’s probably relatively meaningless in the grander scheme of things. And the fact that we don’t have to worry about these existential issues and a little plug in the article. French mentions the dispatch, which is the publication they every morning they they put out a newsletter called the morning dispatch, and he mentioned a little piece that they had about Taiwan and I was quoted in that little piece. So there you go, double recommendation, if you if you will. So anyway, again is America Living in a 910 moment by David French, and that came out an hour ago. So April 13. And with that, Moses, I’d like to thank you once again for being our guests really enjoyed this opportunity to catch up with you. We hadn’t talked in a while, but learned a lot of new things about you. As I mentioned at the beginning of the show, you’re you’re the kind of guests that we love to talk to, right. There’s so much that you can tell us about in terms of all things International, right, the legal aspects, we’re just the beginning of it. So with that, thank you and we look forward to having you on the podcast again.


Moses Wanki Park  35:39

Thank you so much for having me.


Jonathan Bench  35:44 

We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode, we look forward to connecting with you on social media to continue discussing developments in global law and business. This podcast was produced by Harris Bricken with executive producer Madeline Williams music composed by Stephen Schmitt. Tune in next week for another episode. We’ll see you then.


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