[EDITORILAS]The Horrors of Smuggling

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[EDITORILAS]The Horrors of Smuggling

The dumping of 25 bodies into the sea after they had suffocated aboard a South Korean ship that had about 60 Chinese, including 11 Korean-Chinese, being smuggled into South Korea, is shocking. We cannot help but feel anger to learn that the crew dismissed pleas by the victims held in an airtight 9.9 square-meter storage room as they banged on the door and called to be rescued.

There are cases every now and then of people losing their lives in the process of being smuggled into South Korea, but this recent case involves a large number of casualties, inhumane treatment and the dumping of bodies into the ocean. The truth should be fully disclosed and those responsible punished.

The smuggling of Korean-Chinese into South Korea is not new. However, the problem lies in the fact that the number of people being smuggled is increasing annually. According to the Ministry of Justice, of the 215,000 illegal immigrants residing in Korea as of June, about 61,000 were Korean-Chinese. Also, the number of Korean-Chinese who were smuggled into Korea and caught by the government jumped from 95 in 1994 to 1,544 last year. Already this year, 884 have been caught on 16 occasions. Given that a large number of illegal immigrants are people who have been smuggled into Korea, one can tell how negligent the control methods are. In the recent incident, the illegal entrants landed on an island in search of food but the sea patrol and the police were unaware until residents reported the incident.

Because of problems in Korea's labor market, Korean-Chinese are sometimes risking their lives trying to be smuggled into Korea. Native Koreans shun the so-called "3D" - difficult, dirty and dangerous - jobs that companies are having trouble recruiting people for. As a result, once people are smuggled, even if it costs 10 million won ($7,700), they have no problems finding jobs. In order to prevent tragedies such as the recent deaths, a joint investigation with concerned countries must be conducted to hunt down the smuggling rings. Also, a separate measure to improve the supply and demand of manpower for 3D jobs, and measures to strengthen the sea patrol, should also be devised.
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