Police promise to crack down on overcharging

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Police promise to crack down on overcharging

Police said Thursday they will strengthen a crackdown on the acts of overcharging or cheating foreign tourists and improve security efforts in areas frequented by travelers in time for the extended holidays of neighboring countries next week.

An influx of foreign visitors is anticipated here, as both Japan and China will enjoy lengthy holidays from the end of this month to the first week of May - Japan’s so-called golden week holiday from Saturday to May 7 and China’s Labor Day holiday from Saturday to Monday.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) said it will form special control teams together with officials from the Seoul Metropolitan Government and other agencies to clamp down on overcharging and other illegal acts by taxis, shops, accommodations and other service providers catering to foreign tourists.

The special teams will also increase patrols near the city’s major tourist attractions to prevent various crimes targeting foreigners.

“By providing customized security services, we will demonstrate the kind and trustworthy image of Seoul police and put efforts to make Seoul a city foreigners want to come back to,” a police official said.

Visitors and shoppers from the two countries during the period had helped boost South Korea’s economy.

The number of Chinese visitors to South Korea, however, is expected to plunge during the holiday season due to Beijing’s retaliation against Seoul over a missile defense system.

The number of Chinese tourists last month dropped 39.4 percent from a year ago, an immediate result of Beijing prohibiting group tours to South Korea.

In contrast to a downturn in Chinese visitors, the number of Japanese tourists here has been on a steady rise this year. In the first two months of this year, 339,000 Japanese visited South Korea, up 20.8 percent from the previous year.

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