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A Guide for Foreigners: What To Do If You're the Crime Victim in Korea [2023]

Updated: Oct 2, 2023


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Image Source: Korea.net


South Korea is renowned for its low crime rate. However, being well-informed about what to do if you ever find yourself in an unfortunate situation is crucial. Whether you're a tourist or a long-term resident, this guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of steps and resources available.


I. What Crimes Can Be Reported in Korea?

The Korean National Police Agency can provide assistance in the following situations:


  • Reporting a crime, such as assault, theft, or stalking.

  • Resolving disputes related to a car accident.

  • Reporting transnational crimes, including terrorism, drug, or human trafficking.

  • Assisting in cases of overcharging for taxi fares.

  • Providing directions and assistance if you're lost and need help reaching your destination.

  • Addressing issues related to racism or unfair treatment by your employer or colleagues.

  • Offering assistance in various situations where you require police help.


II. Emergency Contact Numbers in Korea


When faced with an emergency in Korea, having the right contact numbers on hand is crucial. These numbers provide various forms of assistance:


  • 1330: Korea Travel Hotline: For any tourism-related queries.

  • 1588-5644: BBB Korea: This is your lifeline for live on-the-phone translation.

  • 1345: Immigration: Assistance for visa and immigration issues.

  • 1644-0644: Migrant Workers Support Center: Multilingual consultation for migrant workers.

  • 120: General Information Hotline: Answers about living in Korea.

  • 112: Law Enforcement: For any criminal incidents or if you need police involvement.

  • 1339: KDCA: For health-related concerns like COVID-19.

  • 119: Medical Emergency and Fire: Immediate medical help or fire department.

  • 02-2299-782: Lost and Found: Retrieve lost items.


III. How to Report a Crime in South Korea


When reporting a crime, time is of the essence. Here's a step-by-step guide:


Immediate Threat: If you are in immediate danger or witnessing a crime in progress, call 112 for the police or 119 for medical emergencies and fire.


**Remember, all foreigners (regardless of immigration status) may report crimes in Korea. Illegal immigrants may report crimes without fear of arrest.


Steps to Report a Crime to 112


1. Request an Interpreter:


  • Immediately ask the 112 operator for an interpreter in your language.


2. State Your Location:


  • Always provide accurate location information.

  • If disconnected, operators may dispatch the nearest unit and attempt to call back.

  • If unsure about your address, share your location through a smartphone or video call.

  • Provide Essential Information:

3. Detail the crime: when, where, and how it occurred.


  • Describe the offender(s).

  • No need for personal identification; reports can be anonymous.

  • Expect a text confirmation and a possible follow-up call from the responding officer.


IV. Alternative Reporting Methods


4. Text Message:


  • You can text 112.

  • Reporting in Korean is faster; foreign language reports may have delays.


5. App:


Use the “112 Emergency Report App” for reporting.


6. Safety e-Report:


Report risks to public safety online.


IV. Additional Resources


Contact the Korean National Victim Support Centers:


All prosecutor offices, including district and branch offices, run in-house victim support centers. They also maintain dedicated victim counseling phone lines to offer guidance and alleviate the distress of victims and their families.


Victim Support Centers by Province in Korea


Relief System for Crime Victims in Korea: Financial Support and Restitution


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