Wednesday, April 16, 2014

South Korea: Many South Korean Travelers Do Not Heed Travel Warnings, Alerts Issued by MOFA

According to The Korea Times, it is essential that South Korean citizens observe travel alerts and warnings issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs )MOFA). 


According to data obtained from MOFA, Korean embassies and consulates around the world reported that 30 South Korean nationals were murdered in 2013, up from 27 in 2012.

Twenty six out of the 30 South Koreans killed occurred in countries under MOFA travel alerts and travel warnings including thirteen in the Philippines, five in China and four in Latin America. 

In 2012, the Philippines accounted for eight deaths, followed by six in the US, five in China and five in Latin American countries.

There are no clear patterns to the killings or in the types of victims, which include tourists, students and long-term residents.

Many murders of South Koreans abroad are committed by those who know them.

Last month, a 51-year-old South Korean woman was strangled and mutilated by her former Indonesian employee at her home near Jakarta. The victim lived alone in Indonesia for some 20 years, running a sewing factory.

In countries notorious for security threats, Koreans fall victim to frequent robberies and kidnappings for ransoms. That may or may not be because their nationality is targeted.

MOFA said on its website that Koreans murdered in the Philippines were abducted and robbed while consorting with local prostitutes or visiting a foreign country for gambling.

One should not rule out risks of terrorist attacks while traveling to regions under the MOFA’s travel warnings or bans.

Three Koreans died in February 2014 in a suicide bomb attack against a tourist bus carrying 30 South Korean Christians near the border between Egypt’s Sinai region and Israel.  Additionally, nine South Koreans were injured in the blast.

A Level 3 travel warning, which recommends that South Koreans not visit the area unless in an emergency, had been issued for the Sinai region at that time.

In another terrorist attack in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya last year, a South Korean woman was shot and killed.

While most murders of Korean nationals took place in the regions dangerous for travelers, a handful were killed in countries regarded as "safe."

COMMENT: As I have said in my 2008 360-page book, STAYING SAFE ABROAD: TRAVELING, WORKING AND LIVING IN A POST-9/11 WORLD, there are "NO safe countries anywhere, as thugs, criminals and terrorists gather wherever there are foreign tourists."

As a matter of interest, in June 2014, a complete update of my 2008 book will be released in print as well as an E-book, to facilitate global distribution. This book will be entitled:


Last year, Two Koreans on a working-holiday visa were murdered in Australia, a destination free of travel alerts or warnings.

A 23-year-old woman was beaten to death at dawn in a park in Brisbane, Queensland in November 2013. The perpetrator turned out to be an Australian teenager who allegedly dreamed of killing people since he was a child.

Observers point out that Australia issues working-holiday visas to almost all applicants, many of whom do not speak English and are not adequately prepared to live and work abroad. 

Some 34,000 Koreans, 70% of whom were issued working-holiday visas, headed to Australia in 2012, according to data.

Korean working-holiday visa holders in Australia tend to take over jobs avoided by local residents including cleaning the streets, farming and working in meat factories. The first victim, for example, was on her way to her cleaning job, which started in the early morning, when she was murdered.

For the benefit of our South Korean readers, I would be grateful in hearing from Hangal speakers, as we are considering have the E-version of STAYING SAFE ABROAD translated into Hangal: