Killings in Philippines spur Korea to boost security

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Killings in Philippines spur Korea to boost security

In the wake of a series of killings involving Korean nationals in the Philippines, the foreign affairs authority said Thursday that it would finance the installment of security infrastructure in the largest Korean communities there.

The statement comes a week after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the death of a Korean couple in Cavite, a coastal province 21 kilometers (13 miles) south of Manila.

The two were shot dead by an unidentified assailant, bringing the total number of Koreans killed in the Philippines this year to 10.

The new measures, outlined in a ministry press release, include the installation of CCTV cameras in two of the Philippine’s largest Korean communities: a Koreatown in Angeles, an urbanized city some 75 kilometers northwest of Manila; and an area in Malate, a district in Manila heavily populated by Korean merchants.

The ministry added that it would install 200 black box cameras in vehicles owned by Korean expatriates in order to facilitate evidence collection after crimes.

The statement did not say how much the government would set aside for the initiatives, which will be launched within the framework of a strategy known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).

A term used in criminology, CPTED refers to a multi-disciplinary approach in deterring criminal activities through environmental design.

“A CPTED specialist will personally visit Manila and Angeles for a field study to decide where and how many CCTV cameras need to be installed there,” a ministry representative said on the condition of anonymity.

The source added the government may install more devices if needed.

Other measures will include holding promotional events, such as regular seminars for Korean expatriates on regional safety issue hosted by local police officers.

The Korean Embassy is also expected to hire more security personnel.

The Foreign Ministry will work with its Philippine counterpart and the police to expand the Philippine police department in charge of Korean affairs and may hire a retired high-ranking Philippine police officer to provide consulting services to the Korean Embassy.

“There is an overall decline in criminal activity against Koreans in the Philippines,” said Lee Myung-ryul, the director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s consular affairs bureau, who credited the ministry’s efforts in that drop. “But violent crimes such as murder and abduction aren’t following suit.”

Park Oe-byeong, a professor of police administration at Dongseo University in Busan, linked the motives behind the killings with expats’ reputation of wealth. “In many cases, Koreans end up being the targets of robbery because they’re known to be affluent.”

Some 1.2 million Koreans are estimated to visit the Southeast Asian country each year. Up to 28,252 Korean residents live in and around Manila according to the Korean Embassy.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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