Despite top celebrities such as Kim Soo Hyun and Lee Min Ho advertising for casinos, it’s actually illegal for Korean citizens to gamble in Korea. However, it is completely legal for foreigners to gamble in Korea, which is why casinos have such large marketing campaigns. It’s actually also illegal for Koreans to gamble overseas, and there has been historical precedence of celebrities getting in trouble after getting caught in gambling hubs such as Macau or Las Vegas.
While you might see a lot of random people spitting on the streets in Seoul, spitting in public is actually illegal and can earn you a fine if you’re caught.
In Korea, tattoos are basically illegal since the tattoo artist must be a licensed doctor. However, tattoo studios still operate in Korea due to the lack of enforcement.
Although this never came into fruition, miniskirts were almost banned in Korea as former President Park Geun Hye attempted to pass a law in which people deemed to be “overexposed” in public would be subject to a fine of 50,000 KRW (~$45 USD).
5. Street vendors
Many street vendors are actually operating illegally. Of course, while not all street vendors are breaking the law, many carts set up on the street are unregulated and do not properly pay taxes as they receive a large portion of their revenue in cash.
6. Online Gaming
Also known as the “Shutdown Law”, the government has forbidden children under the age of 16 in South Korea to play online video games from 12:00 AM to 6:00 AM. Servers to popular online games are restricted for gamers under 16 years old during these hours. Because gamers in Korea must sign in with their government ID number, it’s proven to be very effective.
The law was repealed on December 31, 2021, meaning that teenagers were allowed to game at any point. However, many PC cafes still enforce a 10pm curfew for minors.
While the censorship of pornography has become a lot laxer lately, the Korean government still blocks many sites that it considers too lewd or offensive.
8. Dog Meat
While dog meat is technically not illegal, its legality is still highly disputed. There have been stricter laws enforcing the regulation of dog meat production, but activist groups have continued to push for a complete ban on the practice.
While smoking is extremely common in Korea, it’s actually illegal to smoke in most public places. Anyone caught smoking in restricted will be subject to a fine of 100,000 KRW (~$90 USD).
While it is legal in other countries, including Canada and some states in the United States, marijuana is extremely illegal in Korea. Some idols, including BIGBANG‘s T.O.P and G-Dragon, faced legal repercussions after police had discovered they had smoked marijuana.
Now you know what you definitely cannot do in Korea the next time you visit!