Tourist Police Starts Work Wednesday

Tourist police pose in their uniforms. /Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Tourist police pose in their uniforms. /Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

A new tourist police will be launched on Wednesday to handle crimes and nuisances targeting visitors from abroad.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Monday said the 101-member force will patrol Myeong-dong, Itaewon, Dongdaemun, Insa-dong and other areas of Seoul frequented by tourists and crack down on shady practices like overcharging.

Visitors can turn to tourist police stations for assistance from officers who speak English, Chinese and Japanese. The National Police Agency chose 52 officers as well as another 49 conscripted policemen with language skills.

Fashion designer Kim Seo-ryong, who makes pop star Psy's costumes, took part in designing the uniform.

According to the Korea Tourism Organization, complaints from tourists involving shopping rose from 23.6 percent of all complaints filed by foreign tourists in 2008 to 34.7 percent last year, while overcharging by taxis and other transportation operators accounted for 15 to 20 percent over the last five years.

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 15, 2013 11:57 KST