Koreans to be charged for defying Libya ban

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Koreans to be charged for defying Libya ban

Korea plans this week to file charges against its citizens illegally staying in Libya in defiance of a government order to leave the war-torn country for safety reasons, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

Currently, 13 Koreans are in Libya despite Seoul’s travel ban on the North African country in the midst of a civil war. The travel ban, imposed in early March, will remain in place until May 14.

“We informed South Korean citizens staying illegally in Libya last week of our plan to bring charges if they refuse to leave the country by Wednesday,” a ministry official said, requesting not to be named.

“The ministry will take action later this week if the ultimatum is not met.”

On March 29, the ministry ordered 14 Korean residents in Libya to leave the country. Only one has left. Four of the 13 have said they intend to flee Libya, the official said. Most of them are self-employed in Libya, making it difficult for them to leave.

The government decided to take the measure since they have already been given more than two weeks to leave the country due to the political unrest, the official said.

Violations of a travel ban carry up to a one-year prison sentence or a fine of 3 million won ($2,700) fine.

There are about 50 Korean nationals, including 10 embassy employees and their families, will remain in the country.

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