Society

Thirty Injured In Paris After Soccer League Celebrations Turn Into Violent Riot

FRANCE 24, LE PARISIEN (France)

Worldcrunch

PARIS – Violence broke out in the French capital’s ritziest neighborhood as supporters gathered to celebrate the Parisian soccer team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) winning the French League 1 championship for the first time in 19 years.

Thirty people were injured in the riot, including three police officers. Twenty-one people were arrested.

Tuesday night, around 15,000 supporters came out to Paris’ Trocadero in the posh 16th arrondissement to meet the team and celebrate their victory, reports France 24.

According to the Le Parisien newspaper, about 250 of the supporters were “ultras” – hooligans that have been banned from PSG matches due to stringent security rules implemented in the past three years. A banner deployed on a Trocadero scaffolding read “Freedom for the ultras.”

After the banner was deployed, smoke bombs were thrown, sparking a violent rampage that left 30 people injured.

Cars and scooters were set on fire, shop windows and bus shelters destroyed. The violence spread all the way to the Eiffel Tower, where a tourist bus was vandalized and looted.

The 800 police officers and 150 stadium security deployed for the event were unable to contain the crowds.

Paris Police Commissioner Bernard Boucault – who has come under fire for not having anticipated the clashes – announced that the PSG would be banned from holding public events in Paris, reports Le Parisien.

"They crashed the party," titled Le Parisien:

@amineaziz1 @mamzelle_peace twitter.com/chesterfizz222…

—An'Do Châ (@AnnDo31) May 14, 2013

Coupes budgétaires et épuisement des stocks de lacrimogènes, Manuel #Gaz n'arrive plus à maintenir l'ordre. #PSG twitter.com/ArthurDeschmps…

— Arthur Deschamps (@ArthurDeschmps) May 14, 2013

#PSG: autre image des dégradations, deux bus de touristes vandalisés près de la Tour Eiffel twitter.com/itele/status/3…

— itele (@itele) May 13, 2013

#PSG: de nombreux dégâts Avenue Kléber à #Paris (2/2) twitter.com/itele/status/3…

— itele (@itele) May 13, 2013

En Égypte? En Syrie? En Libye? Nooooooon c'est bien en France cher pays de notre enfance!!!#PSG #Trocadéro twitter.com/Mamzelle_Peace…

— Miss Twitteuse (@Mamzelle_Peace) May 13, 2013

#psg #trocadero last night useless police unstopable stupid #football #fans #riots twitter.com/Sham16294/stat…

— Virginie(@Sham16294) May 14, 2013

#psg were supposed to celabrate their succes a few #hooligans decided otherwise #riots #paris#trocadero last night twitter.com/Sham16294/stat…

— Virginie(@Sham16294) May 14, 2013

#PSG: de nombreux dégâts Avenue Kléber à #Paris (1/2) twitter.com/itele/status/3…

— itele (@itele) May 13, 2013

Le jour d'après #Trocadéro twitter.com/Alexsulzer/sta…

— Alex Sulzer (@Alexsulzer) May 14, 2013

FAR WEST. (ils ont viré le mec de sa voiture)#Trocadero twitter.com/Antoine_Levequ…

— Antoine Leveque (@Antoine_Leveque) May 14, 2013

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Society

Debt Trap: Why South Korean Economics Explains Squid Game

Crunching the numbers of South Korea's personal and household debt offers a glimpse into what drives the win-or-die plot of the Netflix hit produced in the Asian country.

In the Netflix series, losers of the game face death

Yip Wing Sum

-Analysis-

SEOUL — The South Korean series Squid Game has become the most viewed series on Netflix, watched by over 111 million viewers and counting. It has also generated a wave of debate online and off about its provocative message about contemporary life.

The plot follows the story of a desperate man in debt, who receives a mysterious invitation to play a game in which the contestants gamble their lives on six childhood games, with the winner awarded a prize of 45.6 billion won ($38 million)... while the losers face death.


It's a plot that many have noted is not quite as surreal as it sounds, a reflection of the reality of Korean society today mired in personal debt.

Seoul housing prices top London and New York

In the polished streets of downtown Seoul, one sees endless cards and coupons advertising loans scattered on the ground. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, as the demand for loans in South Korea has exploded, lax lending policies have led to a rapid increase in personal debt.

According to the South Korean Central Bank's "Monetary Credit Policy Report," household debt reached 105% of GDP in the first quarter of this year, equivalent to approximately $1.5 trillion at the end of March, with a major share tied up in home mortgages.

Average home loans are equivalent to 270% of annual income.

One reason behind the debts is the soaring housing prices. In Seoul, home to nearly half of the country's population, housing prices are now among the highest in the world. The price to income ratio (PIR), which weighs the average price of a home to the average annual household income, is 12.04 in Seoul, compared to 8.4 in San Francisco, 8.2 in London and 5.4 in New York.

According to the Korea Real Estate Commission, 42.1% of all home purchases in January 2021 were by young Koreans in their 20s and 30s. For those in their 30s, the average amount borrowed is equivalent to 270% of their annual income.

Playing the stock market

At the same time, the South Korean stock market is booming. The increased demand to buy stocks has led to an increase in other loans such as credit. The ratio for Korean shareholders conducting credit financing, i.e. borrowing from securities companies to secure stock holdings, had reached 21.4 trillion won ($17.7 billion), further increasing the indebtedness of households.

A 30-year-old Seoul office worker who bought stocks through various forms of borrowing was interviewed by Reuters this year, and said he was "very foolish not to take advantage of the rebound."

In addition to his 100 million won ($84,000) overdraft account, he also took out a 100 million won loan against his house in Seoul, and a 50 million won stock pledge. All of these demands on the stock market have further exacerbated the problem of household debt.

42.1% of all home purchases in January 2021 were by young Koreans in their 20s and 30s

Simon Shin/SOPA Images/ZUMA

Game of survival

In response to the accumulating financial risks, the Bank of Korea has restricted the release of loans and has announced its first interest rate hike in three years at the end of August.

But experts believe that even if banks cut loans or raise interest rates, those who need money will look for other ways to borrow, often turning to more costly institutions and mechanisms.

This all risks leading to what one can call a "debt trap," one loan piling on top of another. That brings us back to the plot of Squid Game, "Either you live or I do." South Korean society has turned into a game of survival.

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