Safety is one of the biggest concerns when one visits overseas, but Lee Soon-young, Chief of Police of Busan-jin Police Station in Seomyeon, assures tourists and residents alike that safety is the key priority for officers around the nation.
Lee, who took over the reigns of the largest precinct in the city in early July after having served as the Chief of Foreign Affairs Division at the Busan Police Agency, noted in a recent interview with Haps that with the foreign population growing in the city to upwards of 54,000 residents, the police departments are doing their utmost to provide quality service regardless of which language you speak.
“We provide foreigners assistance in 19 foreign languages, including a triangle interpretation service system which operates 24 hours a day,” he said. “There are 150 police officers in charge of foreign affairs in the city, including three to six officers at every police station, and most of them can speak more than one foreign language, such as English, Japanese, or Chinese.”
Additionally, the Busan Police Agency officially launched a multilingual tourist police force consisting of 35 handpicked police officers whose duty it is to crack down on overcharging merchants and taxi drivers as well as to provide tourists with assistance in major tourist areas around the city.
First launched in Seoul in October 2013, the officers have dealt with over 22,000 illegal activities and complaints from tourists, ranging from unregistered tour guides and taxi businesses to guesthouses that failed to meet safety regulations.
While safety is always a concern in any country, Lee takes pride that South Korea has been known as one of the safest countries in the world to visit; however, if a situation arises and you need help, you should call the police.
“Don`t hesitate to call us using the 112 system,” Lee said. “We will consult on that matter and we are always open to foreigners in trouble and will do our best to take care of your problem.”
If you’re in need of any police assistance, you can call the 112 system 24 hours a day.
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