A South Korean worker was banned from working in an inter-Korean industrial zone in North Korea's border city of Kaesong for two weeks in May for a minor offense, the Unification Ministry said Thursday.
It was the first time a South Korean has been denied access to the complex under a demerit point system designed to strengthen law and order among the hundreds of South Koreans in the complex.
The construction worker received 3 out of maximum 10 penalty points in May for causing a quarrel and breaking a glass in a karaoke room inside the complex, said the ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs.
South Korea introduced the penalty system in January for more than 700 South Korean workers in the complex to handle offenses ranging from traffic accidents to violence and murder, including sexual crimes.
The penalty points range from 2 to 10, depending on the offense.
If the total cumulative points exceed 10, the offender is permanently banned from the complex while those who earn nine demerits are suspended from visiting the complex for three months, according to the ministry.
South Korean workers with seven or eight demerits are suspended from the complex for two months and those with three or four demerits are suspended for two weeks.
The complex, a key outcome of the inter-Korean summit in 2000, marries South Korean capital and technology with cheap labor from the North. It is now home to more than 120 South Korean small and medium-sized companies. (Yonhap News)