Is the Philippines a “death trap” for Koreans?

On Thursday, April 10th, news reports came out that a Korean student is found dead after being kidnapped for days. It is a story that kept netizens abuzz and a day after, it is still a trending topic on most Korean portal sites.

The story also made it to the front page of the online version of Korea Times, labelling the Philippines as a “death trap” for Koreans. The editorial is in three parts, with the first installment published on April 11th.

Screenshot of Korea Times
Screenshot of Korea Times

I watch TV Patrol almost on a daily basis and there is never a day that they don’t report about crimes happening in the Philippines ~ from bag snatching to kidnapping and even massacres. The other day, they reported about a massacre that happened in Baguio where five people, three of them children, were killed. Most of the time, the suspect is related to the victims.

In the case of the Koreans in the Philippines, reports have pointed to Koreans victimizing their own countrymen who are either living in or visiting the Southeast Asian country. As in the editorial of Korea Times…

“It is highly possible that there are Koreans behind these crimes,” said Professor Kim Dong-yeob at Busan University of Foreign Studies.

According to him, the majority of cases involving Korean victims are contract killings. “Many Koreans flying to the Philippines have a reason to flee Korea. Many are gang members escaping law enforcement. What they end up doing is paying people to swindle money from Koreans. businessmen, students and tourists.”

Read the full article here.

Koreans are the top tourists in the Philippines. It is also estimated that there are over 100,000 living in the Philippines. That is twice more than the number of Filipinos living in South Korea. The increasing crimes committed by or towards Koreans in the country has prompted the local government to establish Korean Desks at police stations.

The sheer number of Koreans living in the Philippines has attracted unwanted characters. In a Korean television show last year, it was mentioned that the Philippines is the go-to country of Koreans who have broken the law. In fact, one of Korea’s most wanted was arrested in the Philippines last year.

Calling the Philippines a “death trap” for Koreans may be misleading if most of these crimes were done by a few bad eggs among them. The Philippines’ police force is already burdened with local crimes, petty or not.

Korean tourists, students and businessmen are all welcome to come and visit the Philippines. The bad elements are not.

2 comments

  1. mali naman po ata na tawagin ang philippines na death trap for koreans. death trap po ang philippines sa lahat ng lahi kasama na mga filipino dun. sad but true

    1. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is a “death trap” since chances are, you can get out of the Philippines in one piece. Although I also wouldn’t say it is a safe place to be in. You said there is likely a Korean involved when Koreans fall victims to crime in the Philippines. Hence, the Philippines may be not as safe as South Korea, but the people of the Philippines aren’t exactly the ones creating something like a “death trap.”

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