Seoul seeks tighter control on foreign crime suspects

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Aug 8, 2017 - 17:49
  • Updated : Aug 8, 2017 - 18:04

Foreign nationals suspected of serious crimes are to be subjected to the same travel ban measures as Korean nationals, with a partial revision to related regulations being approved at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

The amended Immigration Act will enable investigative authorities to request emergency departure prohibitions to be issued on foreign suspects considered likely to flee or destroy evidence. Once issued, approval for the travel ban needs to be filed with the minister of justice within six hours. The travel ban is revoked if investigators fail to apply for the justice minister’s approval within the time limit, or if the request is not approved within 12 hours of being filed. 

President Moon Jae-in presides over a Cabinet meeting.(Yonhap)

At present, the minister of justice has the authority to issue emergency departure prohibitions on Korean nationals suspected of crimes subject to the death penalty, indefinite imprisonment or imprisonment of at least three years. The current act does not apply the same measures to foreign nationals.

In addition to changes regarding the emergency travel ban, the revision will also require foreign nationals with permanent residency to renew their issued cards every 10 years. At present, permanent residency cards do not need to be renewed once issued.

The revision also includes clauses enabling the heads of district immigration offices to temporarily release foreign nationals who are under detention for violating the Immigration Act.

By Choi He-suk (