More than 5,000 banned from flights to South Korea
Chinese made up the biggest number of those denied for trying to buy tickets with lost passports or having a history of serious crimes
By Park Si-soo
More than 5,000 foreigners have been denied permission to board flights to South Korea since the government introduced a pre-screening system in April.
The counter-terrorism system pre-emptively identifies terrorists or other potential threats tying to buy tickets or board aircraft travelling to Korea.
The system became operational on April 1 and had identified 5,164 individuals up to the end of August, said Rep. Yoo Eui-dong of the minor conservative Bareun Party, quoting data from the Ministry of Justice, which is in charge of border control.
Chinese made up the biggest portion with 945, followed by Ethiopians (602), Uzbeks (330) and Americans (286).
Five were on Interpol’s wanted list; 268 tried to buy tickets with passports people had lost; and 379 had been involved in serious crimes such as terrorism, drugs, sexual crimes or murder.
Yoo said the system had contributed a lot to heading off many external security threats, but there were still many loopholes.
“The system is applied only to air travellers,” he said. “About 20 per cent of foreigners enter the country on ships. But there is no such a system applied to them.
“The system’s coverage needs to be expanded to make this country safer.”