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Korea to adopt face recognition system for gov't offices

South Korea's government said Thursday it will beef up security at public buildings by adopting a face recognition system following a high-profile illegal entry into one of its offices earlier this year.

The announcement by the Ministry of the Interior comes as Seoul took fire for lax security after a man broke into a government building in central Seoul to tamper with the results of the civil service exam he took.

The man, identified only by his surname Song who was caught last month, illegally entered the building a total of five times from February through March after he stole the identification card of a public official working in the building in February. He later stole two other ID cards.

The government said the new system, slated to be adopted later this year, works by granting access to areas by comparing physical characteristics already stored in a computer or memory device with that of the person wanting to enter a facility.

Currently, one or two security guards check the people's ID cards with their naked eyes.

The new system has been evaluated to be appropriate for government office buildings where there is a large number of visitors, according to the ministry. On average some 32,000 regular employees and around 6,000 visitors enter the four government complexes in the country every day.

The interior ministry said it will also revise regulations to punish public officials who do not promptly report their missing ID cards or those who lend their cards to others.

Employees in charge of security will conduct a monthly mock training to raise the security consciousness.

"Among other things, we will do our best to establish a security consciousness in public officials to prevent any similar events from happening again," Interior Minister Hong Yun-sik said. (Yonhap)