Section : Crime and Penalties
Persons violating South Korean laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, fined, or imprisoned. People arrested in South Korea, even for minor offenses, may be detained temporarily. Foreigners convicted of crimes in South Korea, whether or not sentenced to prison, are commonly deported, and may be banned from returning to the country for several years. Foreigners deported from Korea must pay for their own plane tickets.
U.S. citizens should be aware that there was one recent case in which a U.S. citizen was prosecuted under the South Korean National Security Law, broad legislation that makes illegal actions considered subversive or anti-state. In this case, contact by the U.S. citizen with allegedly pro-North Korea figures in the United States and travel to North Korea formed part of the basis for prosecution.
Adultery is a crime actively prosecuted in South Korea. Recently, a U.S. citizen was convicted of adultery and sentenced to six months imprisonment. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in South Korea are strict, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. American citizens have been detained solely on the basis of drug tests. Travelers should also be careful to adhere to Korean government regulations regarding currency exchange and customs declarations.