Korea Tosses Adultery Law; Condom Brand Shares Shoot Up

Rhett Pardon

SEOUL — Condoms are suddenly the hot thing in South Korea after a court this week overruled a law that criminalized adultery.

Two condom makers — Hyundai Pharmaceutical Co. and Unidus Corp. — saw their shares skyrocket shortly after the ruling on Thursday. Hyundai shares shot up as much as 9.7 percent, while Unidus’s shares rocketed 15 percent.

“Certain themes can drive up share prices and it is probably a temporary rise,” Ha Tae Gi, an analyst at SK Securities in Seoul, told Bloomberg Business News, referring to Unidus. “Shares have the tendency to spike on news events and this probably won’t keep rising over the long term.”

The Seoul court ruled, 7-2, to repeal a six-decade-old law that made infidelity an offense that brought prison time. Park Han-Chul, the presiding judge in the case, cited shifting views of sexual rights as the motive for lifting the ban. The law had been previously challenged four times in the court since 1990.

South Korean authorities have prosecuted at least 9,000 cases of adultery since 2009, authorities said. No one was jailed in 2014, but 892 indictments on adultery charges were filed.