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Law enforcing apartment guards’ responsibility over mail delivery halted

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Published : 2017-04-20 15:34
Updated : 2017-04-20 17:58

Plans to include clauses regarding security guards’ role in receiving residents’ mail to related regulations have been halted, the Korea Post said Thursday.

Related clauses, which would legally bind security guards to manage postal service within residential areas, were first drafted and proposed by the Korea Post in October.

The proposed changes were approved by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, but were stopped by the Korea Housing Management Association and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport before receiving legislative review.

A security guard serving his shift at an apartment complex in Seoul. (Yonhap)

“We believe it’s a serious intrusion of right to legally designate security guards as mandatory recipients of private mail,” said a spokesperson for the transport ministry.

Unfair treatment of the guards, such as job insecurity and verbal and physical abuse, have often made headlines. In February, the parliament passed an act guaranteeing the rights of security guards and shielding them from inappropriate requests from apartment residents.

As of last year, 40,000 security guards were employed in Seoul alone.

However, the Korea Post says the bill would facilitate smoother delivery of mail at apartments with tight security measures. Some of these apartments are reluctant to let postal delivery service staff enter their parameters without the direct consent of the tenant.

Also, with the number of South Korea’s single-person households steadily rising, the national postal service says the volume of unchecked and returned shipments has also expanded.

“My family spends a lot of time outside and our security guard accepts our family’s mail by proxy at least six times a month,” said a 27-year-old office worker surnamed Park, who lives in an apartment complex in Seoul that relies on a system where guards accept residents’ mail.

“The system is convenient, but I believe it’s wrong to support the law that might pass legal blame to the security guards for mismanagement of delivered materials.”

The bill includes a clause that gives guards the right to choose whether they want to accept the delivery or not, but many are skeptical as to the actual effect it will have.

The Korea Post Office said it plans to talk over the issue with the Transport Ministry to redraft the bill.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)