China, US and… : Koreans traveling abroad experience crime most in these 3 countries

Posted on : 2023-10-27 16:48 KST Modified on : 2023-10-27 16:48 KST
As more Koreans go abroad post-pandemic, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of incidents and accidents experienced on foreign soil
Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport bustles with travelers on July 24. (Yonhap)
Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport bustles with travelers on July 24. (Yonhap)

In the past five years, Koreans traveling abroad experienced the most incidents and accidents in China, the US and Vietnam. The number of Koreans falling victim to crimes abroad is expected to increase as demand for overseas travel recovers after having been dampened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to an analysis of data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released Thursday by Hwang Hee, a Democrat on the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, there were 63,798 incidents and accidents involving Koreans abroad in the last five years, from 2018 through the first half of 2023.

In particular, the number of incidents and accidents in 2022, when demand for overseas travel began to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, was 11,323, a sharp increase of 4,825 (74.2 percent) compared to 2021, with traffic accidents and robberies doubling and thefts increasing more than fivefold. In 2023, the toll is expected to be even worse, with more than 7,000 incidents and accidents in the first half of the year alone.

When looking at incidents and accidents over the past five years by country and type, China was the top offender in four crime types: rape and molestation (42 cases), kidnapping and imprisonment (105 cases), fraud (459 cases), and other crimes (3,682 cases). The US was the top country for homicides (21) and missing persons (353), while Vietnam was the top country for assaults (562) and traffic accidents (343).

In addition, the Philippines had the highest number of robberies (52), Spain had the highest number of thefts (2,748), and Thailand had the highest number of safety-related deaths (566).

“For an overseas experience to remain a pleasant memory, a safe return is a prerequisite,” said Hwang. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should take measures to ensure the safe return of citizens and establish an international cooperation structure for damage recovery.”

By Joh Yun-yeong, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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