It’s the summer vacation season, which means it’s time for another episode of Foreigners Gone Wild.
Cops in Busan’s Haeundae beach district are apparently quite concerned after a string of arrests of migrant workers accused of sexually molesting underage girls and photographing women at the beach.
The latest including a Bangladeshi accused of molesting two 17-year-old girls in the water Saturday, a Vietnamese accused of molesting another two 17-year-old girls the same day, and a Burmese dude accused of using his smart phone to photograph nine women in their bikinis.
The week before, they arrested three foreigners, including two Vietnamese and a Pakistani civil servant, of secretly photographing women in bikinis.
Some of the locals are nervous, too:
일부 피서객들은 불안감과 불쾌감을 표시하고 있습니다.
(장예란/울산시 반구동”겁나죠, 솔직히 얼굴색도 다른데다가…불쾌할 때도 있고”)
Well, I suppose the honesty is refreshing—not many people are willing to say those sorts of things on record any more, much less in a swimsuit in front of a camera (although they edited out the “얼굴색” part from the video, oddly).
Meanwhile, according to Busan.com, Haeundae district authorities and local cops are “trembling with fear” with migrant workers from the Busan, Ulsan and Gyeongsangnam-do region expected to descend on Haeundae’s beaches en masse. This is because with foreign workers committing sex crimes on the beaches or illegally sleeping outside, active guidance from the authorities is needed, but there’s fear that such efforts might be branded “racist.”
Haeundae Police Station reportedly sent at an official letter to roughly 1,600 companies in the Busan area that employ foreign workers asking them to send their foreign workers somewhere other than Haeundae or break up their vacation periods—normally concentrated in late July and early August. They also sent out an info memo—translated into four languages—on basic law and order and the ban on sexual harassment and sleeping outdoors. From the end of the month, they plan to conduct guidance activities to prevent sex crimes and sleeping outdoors.
Haeundae District Office, too, also sent an official letter to the Human Resources Development Service of Korea and Ministry of Employment and Labor’s East Busan office requesting they cooperate in educating foreign workers and employers about public order during the vacation period.
The concern stems from last year, when some foreign laborers were arrested for molesting or secretly photographing women playing in the water. Foreign laborers sleeping in the open near the beaches have apparently become a nuisance, too.
The authorities are approaching the matter carefully, though, for fear that guidance activities aimed at foreign laborers only could ignite a racism debate. Because of this, there are also calls to either divide the timing or destinations of foreign laborers’ vacations or create vacation facilities just for them.
An official from Haeundae Police Station said every summer vacation season, companies just put their foreign workers on a bus and drop them off at Haeundae Beach. Watching over them to ensure that they get along OK at the resort was the responsibility of employer, too, he said.