▲ Police administrator Seo Seung Yeon offering sensible advice for foreign residents of Jeju Island when dealing with any police matters. Photos by Song Jung Hee
The Foreigner Rights Protection Office is situated on the third floor of the Police Station near City Hall and is responsible for policing and protecting foreign residents. Police administrators Kim Je Hwan and Seo Seung Yeon explained how the police can assist the foreign community in Jeju.
Translation in emergencies The BBB Translation Service at 1588-5644 is a 24-hour hotline that provides translation in 17 languages. It is a volunteer service run by 3,500 retired diplomats and students. They provide translations for any situation and often answer questions or offer other help with problems. In the event of an emergency, tell them the location and problem and they will notify the police.
For traffic accidents, burglaries or anything requiring immediate police assistance, call 112. The person who answers the phone may have limited English skills, but will contact one of the 32 officers on duty who speak English, Indonesian, Chinese or Japanese.
If one of these officers is not available, there are also more than 35 citizen volunteers available day or night. The stations provide translator training classes frequently, so there should be one in your area. It may take some time for the proper language assistant to arrive, so be patient.
Traffic accidents In the case of a traffic accident, especially one with a dispute as to who is at fault, the police will strive to hear both sides and require everyone to wait for a translator if necessary. If unhappy with the police officer’s response, the BBB or your embassy can help in finding you a good lawyer. Seo said that riding motorcycles without a Korean license is a common problem in Korea and reminded readers that every driver of a motorized vehicle needs a Korean license and insurance.
Theft For less urgent problems, such as theft, go to one of Jeju’s four police stations: the Pop-wan-dong in Seogwipo, the Jeju District Provincial Station near Halla Hospital in Yong-dong, the Dong-boom Police Station near City Hall or the Aewol branch. A translator will be found to assist you in filing a report. Driving under the influence
Another common crime in Jeju is driving while under the influence of alcohol. If a driver is stopped at a random check-point, he or she will be required to take a breathalyzer to test their alcohol level. The maxi-mum limit for drivers is a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent. A driver can ask to go to a hospital for a blood test if desired, but remain calm as you can be arrested for refusing to take the breathalyzer test or for acting belligerently. Drivers who test between 0.05 and 0.09 percent will have their licenses suspended. If over 0.1 percent, the license will be cancelled. Any violation carries a penalty of between 1 million and 5 million won.
Sexual assault In the case of a rape or attempted rape, the Halla Hospital has a One Stop Help Center for victims. Call 112 and an officer in the area will accompany you there. The center provides medical care, evidence gathering and investigation, legal assistance and counseling for victims. Female officers will handle the cases of all female victims and translation services will be provided. The phone number for the center is 064-749-5117.
Employer issues If a problem occurs with an employer, call 1644-0644 to reach the Migrant Workers, Labor and Human Rights’ Center. They should be able to help with most workplace issues. Look for an upcoming article for more information on this topic.
Drug smuggling Although there has never been a serious drug case in Jeju, there is a special Drug Investigation Team that handles all cases of that nature.
The fines for bringing drugs into Korea range from 5 years in prison to a lifetime sentence and a fine of up to a 10 million won fine. Defendants will also face a trial, which means the expense of hiring a lawyer, and will be deported at the end of their jail term at their own expense if found guilty.
Jeju can be a wonderful place to live and the local police do everything in their power to protect and assist foreign residents. According to Kim, the most common crimes foreigners commit on Jeju are visa violations and fights. Walk away from fights, insure your vehicles and hold the relevant license, and adhere to your visa regulations and interaction with the police on Jeju will be painless.
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