BUSAN, Jul. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — To prevent sexual harassment arising from cultural differences, the Busan Police Department has taken measures to increase the awareness among foreigners of Korea’s policies and laws.
On July 15, a woman in a bikini swimsuit on Busan’s popular Haeundae Beach noticed a foreigner filming her on his cellphone. She called the police and the man was arrested in the act.
The man, who is employed at a manufacturing company in Gimhae, South Gyeongsan Province, protested by saying, “In my home country, there are no real regulations regarding filming using camera phones, so I was unaware that such actions were considered to be a criminal activity that was a punishable offense.”
A similar case of a foreign offender pleading for mercy arose in August of last year, when a man was arrested after touching a woman’s backside. He also argued that the situation arose from cultural misunderstandings.
According to the Haeundae Police Department, there have been a total of 33 sex crimes reported since 2014. There were 11 cases in 2014, 8 in 2015, 8 in 2016 and 6 so far as of July of this year. Of the 33 cases, 20 occurred in the months of June, July, and August, when the beaches are officially open for the season.
The police have unveiled a PR campaign to inform the foreign working population in the country that unbeknownst to them, their actions may constitute violations of policies regulating sexual harassment.
On July 22, the police invited an expat community group coordinator to a discussion on sex crime cases.
The information desk at Haeundae Beach will have foreigners offer explanations regarding sexual harassment policies in their mother tongues at the behest of the police. Until now, the information desk only offered explanations in English.
The police believe their PR campaign is extremely important to avoid any problems of miscommunication and wrongful assumption in the future. A police officer from the Haeundae Police Department said, “There are calls made to the police everyday accusing foreigners of secretly filming people, but many of them are taking pictures of the scenery. As such, we are boosting our outreach to the local foreign population so that they understand that such situations may arise, and that covertly filming women on the beach is wrong.”