55 tourists from Thailand go AWOL in South Korea

South Korean Immigration officials revealed that 55 Thai tourists have gone missing on Jeju Island.

Some 280 Thai tourists entered South Korea last week through Jeju International Airport but 55 of them have gone AWOL

Jeju Immigration Service announced that of the 697 Thai nationals who arrived at Jeju Airport from Bangkok through a direct Jeju Airlines flight between Tuesday and Friday, 417 were denied entry and were flown home.

The other 280 people who entered the country were part of a planned three-day tourism program. But 55 of them left their tour groups and disappeared and the South Korean Immigration Office announced it is trying to work out where they went.

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Immigration officials revealed that Thai tourists choose to enter South Korea through Jeju as they have more of a chance of gaining entry than at any other airport in South Korea.

South Korea operates the K-ETA system, which allows people from 112 visa-waiver countries, including Thailand, to obtain electronic travel authority online before traveling. But the Seoul government has exempted foreign arrivals through the Jeju International Airport from the K-ETA because Jeju is a tourist spot.

K-ETA was introduced by South Korea because the country has a problem with illegal migrant workers. The number of Thais working legally in South Korea is around 18,000. But the number of Thais illegally working in South Korea is thought to be as high as 140,000.

In 2022, 10,377 Thai people found working illegally in South Korea were deported.

At present, all foreigners are required to obtain a K-ETA or a visa to gain entry into South Korea. Non-Korean nationals going to South Korea for tourism, business meetings, discussions, conferences, short-term study with a stay below 90 days, and family visits should apply for K-ETA online at least one week before arrival.

If the purpose of your visit is not covered under the K-ETA, or your nationality is not eligible for a K-ETA, you must apply for the appropriate visa.

SOURCE: Korea Herald

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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