The mystery in Seoul continues this week and may be spreading into the provinces. Personally I’m put in mind of the old hobo code in America.

Seoul police are investigating after citizens began being frightened by symbols — α, β, X — of unknowable meaning appearing on the entrances to their apartments in officetels, one-rooms, and apartment complexes, as reported in the Dong-A Ilbo.

Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency chief Ju Sang-yong instructed all officers on the 19th to “check all buildings in you jurisdiction for markings.” The investigation teams in each police station investigated every officetel and one-room apartment in their jurisdictions on the 19th. Any officers who found such markings began making inquiries to find out who had made them and for what purpose. In Gwanak-gu, where many university students live alone, a number of markings were found in officetels and one-rooms where such students are concentrated, and police there are continuing their investigation.

Some officers believe the α, β, X markings around the city may be used as a code for organizations. They do not appear to be for delivery services such as newspapers or Christian groups. After publication of the Dong-A Ilbo report markings were reported in Jongro-gu, Mapo-gu, and Yongsan-gu, and others were reported in officetels and apartments in Gyeonggi-do as well. A member of the police said, “it’s possible they are created by thives or burglars… We will put our utmost efforts into uncovering the truth to put citizens’ minds at ease.”