Criminal Penalties in Korea, South

While you are traveling in another country, you are subject to its laws, even if you are a U.S. citizen. Persons violating the Republic of Korea’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Republic of Korea can be severe, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences, heavy fines, and deportation at the end of their sentence. U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea have been arrested for past use of illegal drugs based on evidence from urine tests and hair sampling. ROK authorities frequently arrest U.S. citizens on drug charges based on suspicious packages sent through the mail or information provided by other persons charged with drug possession or use. Several U.S. citizens have been arrested after accepting international mail packages that contained marijuana-laced items. ROK authorities thoroughly screen international mail for illegal items and substances. See also information on drugs in the section on Special Circumstances under Customs Regulations. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct or using or disseminating child pornography is a crime in the Republic of Korea, but it is also prosecutable in the United States.

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