The Seoul Metropolitan Government said Wednesday it had ordered local council members to return travel expenses that were used for non-business purposes.
Several Seongbuk-gu Council members were found to have spent about 14 million won ($13,000) during five overseas trips in the past four years, the officials said.
This marks the first time the city government has decided to restore inappropriately spent public money from assemblymen after the public audit system was adopted in 2000. Seongbuk-gu residents called for the inspection in 2006.
According to the residents, Seongbuk-gu Council members spent public funds for travel purposes between 2011 and 2013, with destinations including Europe and Mongolia in 2011 and Turkey in 2013.
Their most recent trip, to Turkey, where 18 politicians squandered more than 42.1 million won, stirred up controversy after it was found that their itinerary was focused on shopping and sightseeing.
The 18 council members reportedly returned 37.7 million won of the money spent there.
The Seoul government confirmed that the council members did not provide details about their overseas trips nor did they submit a required report after their return.