South Korea issue travel ban to ‘Golden Triangle’ region in Laos

SEOUL: South Korea has decided to ban its nationals from traveling to the “Golden Triangle” region in Laos infamous for criminal activities starting next month, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

The Level 4 travel alert, the highest in the government’s four-tier travel advisory system, for the region will take effect Feb 1, Yonhap News Agency citing the ministry.

The Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone, located along the Mekong River in the Laos province of Bokeo, is known for illegal activities, such as trafficking and scamming.

The decision to raise the advisory came as South Koreans have been subject to multiple crimes despite a Level 3 alert being issued for the region since Nov 24, the ministry said.

Such crimes involved luring the victims into working for a local company and forcing them to engage in voice phishing scams, prostitution or other illegal activities, and then holding the victims captive and physically assaulting them if they refuse to do so, according to Yonhap.

South Korea has also decided to extend the travel ban for another six months on eight countries and six regions, citing the risk of terrorism and unstable security.

The travel ban will be extended for Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Ukraine and Sudan, as well as parts of the Philippines, Russia, Belarus, Gaza, Myanmar and the border area between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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