Gangnam Nightlife Grinds to Halt for G20 Summit

      November 11, 2010 11:04

      Bars and other entertainment venues in the Gangnam area south of the Han River are empty because 50,000 law enforcement personnel have converged on the area where the G20 Summit is held. Hotels and motels in the area are completely full because police booked rooms there a month ago, operators say.

      "The streets and motels are crawling with police, so who in their right mind would come to have a drink and pay for a night out with a hostess?" one worker at a bar near Seonneung Station said. "On Thursday and Friday when the summit takes place, more than half of the entertainment establishments in the area will close."

      Even though the police are in the Gangnam area to provide security for the summit, their presence makes bar owners and workers uneasy. One worker at a bar in Yeoksam-dong said, "There are many police checkpoints so it's hard to pick up customers. We decided to take the entire week off. I'm losing between W500,000 to W1 million (US$1=W1,111) in earnings." Another worker at a bar nearby said, "Businesses in the area apparently told their staff to stay away from entertainment places and there are rumors that police are ready to crack down on an establishment to set an example."

      The amount of fliers passed around advertising massage parlors and other establishments offering sex for money have decreased markedly. According to the Gangnam District Office, 2,000-3,000 fliers a day are strewn on the streets near Seonneung, Yeoksam and Gangnam subway stations every day, but that has shrunk to just around 1,000 now.

      Entertainment places north of the Han River are grateful for the chance to lure more customers, and some are even offering discounts.

      The Seven Luck Casino in Samseong-dong is closing down between 10 p.m. on Wednesday and 6 a.m. on Saturday. With around 2,000 visitors a day, the casino generates more than W1 billion in daily revenues. But while it is closed, customers are expected to head to casinos across the river. "We expect to lose more than W3 billion while we stay closed for 63 hours," said a staffer.

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