Seoul set to ban alcohol in public parks
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Seoul set to ban alcohol in public parks

Original article in Korean is at this link.

The city of Seoul has plans to ban drinking in the city’s over 2,600 public parks. This is intended to cut down on the increasing number of incidents in which citizens become excessively drunk and fight during their off-hours. The police recently formed a team just to respond to incidents of alcohol-fueled violence, and it has already arrested at least 100 intoxicated assailants and is continuing to increase its enforcement efforts.

Choi Gwang-bin, the city’s public parks commissioner, announced on the 4th that “the freedom of citizens to drink in public parks on their off-hours is no longer considered advisable and so we plan to advise the government to amend the law.”

Current law contains regulations banning smoking in public parks but has no regulations on drinking. Mr. Choi said that “in the United States and other advanced nations drinking in public places is strictly prohibited… we plan to prohibit drinking in public in Seoul as a leading example.”

According to the city, in New York State in the US it is illegal to openly carry alcohol in public parks, the streets, and other public places. In most provinces in Canada it is a violation to carry alcohol in a public place. An official with the Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs said of these plans that “we believe it is necessary to prohibit drinking in public parks which are often places for family outings.”

In Seoul this year smoking has been prohibited in public parks, which are  now autonomous areas by ordinance. Fines for a violation range from 50,000 to 100,000 won. 25 such smoke-free areas have been designated and 23 have already seen enforcement efforts. Enforcement will begin in Seodaemun-gu and Jongro-gu in this coming September and January, respectively.