Thai netizens complain of strict Korean immigration procedures

By Hoang Phong   November 6, 2023 | 02:00 am PT
Thai netizens complain of strict Korean immigration procedures
A woman takes photographs of her boyfriend at a river park in Seoul, South Korea, May 24, 2021. Photo by Reuters
Netizens have joined heated discussions on X, formerly Twitter, following a large number of Thai tourists being denied entry into Korea.

Since last week, social media has been abuzz with two hashtags in Thai: #BantraveltoKorea and #Koreanimmigrationoffice, with many netizens criticizing "strict immigration" by South Korean authorities, the Nation Thailand reported.

Korea has been a popular destination for Thais due to the influence of K-pop artists, fashion and South Korean drama. Thais do not need a visa to enter South Korea but they must register on the website K-eta.

A Thai woman wrote on X that a South Korean immigration officer asked her to name every train station in the country, Thaiger reported.

She was able to name only a few, so officers concluded that she did not understand the South Korean language and did not grant her entry.

Another woman recalled on X that she was detained because her surname was different from her friend’s family members who were travelling with her.

Some Thai netizens said they were questioned about the color of their hotels and the number of trees in front of their accommodation.

Another woman who worked as a professor at a university in Thailand said she had traveled to more than 20 countries but was refused entry to South Korea.

Korean netizens have joined the discussions, saying that Thais represent the largest group of undocumented workers in their country, and accusing them of being involved in selling and using drugs, The Nation reported.

Many Thais in turn questioned the legality of "Korean-owned" businesses like restaurants, clubs and barber shops in Thailand.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has pledged to look into the issue while the Korea Tourism Organization said it was working towards resolving the problem of entry issues.

As of September, the number of Thais visiting South Korea topped 269,347, making it one of five largest outbound tourism markets of South Korea.

go to top