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Justice Ministry Operation Nabs 11,000 Illegal Immigrants

A joint force from the central government has apprehended over 11,000 illegal immigrants in the latest nationwide crackdown, with a large number ordered to leave the country.

The collaborative operation between the ministries of justice, land-infrastructure-transport and employment-labor as well as the Korea National Police Agency and the Korea Coast Guard swept the country from June 12 to July 31. This was the second major operation this year targeting illegal immigrants.

The crackdown found 6,114 undocumented people, with 5,482 of them ordered to leave the country immediately. Another 142 of those caught have been fined and the rest held for questioning.

The crackdown aimed to tackle two major issues: illegal drug trading and employment brokerage. Illicit drug trading among young adults, including teenagers, has recently become a serious social issue, according to the justice ministry.

The joint force has found 15 illegal immigrants who either consumed or distributed illicit drugs. Twelve were found to be working without legal papers at a ship repair shop in Busan’s Yeongdo District and five of them tested positive for illicit drug use. In Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, 12 people were apprehended at a karaoke bar without the necessary legal work permits. Five of them tested positive for illegal drugs. The justice ministry said they will be deported from the country and banned from reentry.

The crackdown also nabbed and fined 1,290 illegally hired foreign employees. Twenty illegally operating job brokers were uncovered, five of whom were arrested. The remainder are still under questioning, the justice ministry said Wednesday.

The Seoul Immigration Office has also apprehended a Korean broker who linked 55 illegal immigrants to a dairy product manufacturer in Eumseong County, North Chungcheong Province, and another broker who helped female illegal immigrants gain employment at an adult entertainment salon in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. The authority sent the suspects to the prosecutor’s office.

In Incheon, the local immigration office has nabbed four Koreans who lured 173 foreigners from 16 African countries pretending to invite them as buyers of secondhand automobiles and clothes in Korea and help them shop. The Koreans were suspected of helping the Africans find employment in Korea illegally. Another five illegal immigrants who have been working as prostitutes and their Korean pimp have also been nabbed across five brothels in Seoul and Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province. Prostitution is illegal in Korea.

In a separate search for illegal immigrants in areas most heavily populated by foreigners across the country, authorities found 5,476 undocumented immigrants who have been asked to voluntarily leave the country.

Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon said following the crackdown the authority will strictly monitor illegal immigrants and those who provide support to illegal activities.

Source: The Korea Times