The number of personal bankruptcies is skyrocketing, with professionals such as doctors and lawyers accounting for nearly half.
According to the Seoul Central District Court, 62 people with debts of more than W500 million (US$1=W1,267) each have applied for individual rehabilitation since January. That is a three- to five-fold increase compared to 24 between January and May last year and 13 over the same period in 2007.
Doctors were the largest group, accounting for 28 applicants, followed by 20 small business owners. Their debts averaged W3.88 billion, a whopping 2.5 times their average assets of W1.58 billion. Six people had debts of over W10 billion.
A court official said the number of applications for individual debtor rehabilitation by those with small debts decreased from last year, indicating that the middle class is finally feeling the impact of the financial crisis.