Eat-and-run Crimes Spread Nationwide | Be Korea-savvy

Eat-and-run Crimes Spread Nationwide

A group of people eats at a restaurant in Seoul on July 9, 2021. (Yonhap)

A group of people eats at a restaurant in Seoul on July 9, 2021. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Korea Bizwire)In an increasing number of cases, people are sneaking away from restaurants after dining, without paying for their food.

Last June, six tourists visiting a popular seafood restaurant in Seogwipo, Jeju Island ate 270,000 won (US$188) worth of food, before disappearing one by one, leaving the bill unpaid.

They were soon apprehended by the police, during which they claimed to believe that one of them had paid for their food. The case was handed over to the prosecution for charges of fraud.

Police said most of these eat-and-run cases involve drunk people forgetting to pay for their food.

There are cases, however, in which perpetrators had a clear intention to eat and run, or ordered food despite not having any money.

“A pre-pay system would solve the problem, but it would be quite difficult to be implemented in South Korea considering the local food culture,” a restaurant owner in Daegu said.

While some argue that these eat-and-run crimes are the result of the recent surge in consumer prices, many think it’s safer to believe that these crimes happen either by a simple mistake or as part of a pre-planned scheme.

“Eat-and-run crimes can result in fines of up to 100,000 won. Considering the intent and frequency, however, the perpetrator may face fraud charges, which opens up the possibility of criminal punishment,” a police officer said.

H. M. Kang (

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