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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

KNPA: Help For Foreigners. Just Not For You.

Lately, some references to the KNPA website on Foreigner’s Human Rights Protection here in Korea has popped up in a few places. The Hagwon Blacklist facebook group is one of several sites advertising this new “service.”  It purports to help foreigners experiencing problems with violence, violation of human rights and employer issues including delayed pay, contract disputes or extortion –  all in seven languages, including English.

Although poorly written and spelled English notwithstanding, the site seems to offer help with criminal investigations, violence issues and employer-related issues, complete with cutesy graphics of big-eyed police officers rushing to help foreigners in need.

Since most people believe that if it’s on the internet it must be true, its no wonder that references to this have cropped up on multiple foreigner-related blogs and service sites such as ATEK.  Apparently, no one has tried to use these services before happily broadcasting their existence as a panacea to all your Korean-related ills.

Don’t be fooled by their noise.  Due to the tireless dedication of yours truly to get the real information that we here in Ulsan can actually use, I can safely tell you this – don’t waste your time. I cruised the KNPA site and found it was minimal at best. The service is apparently only available in five cities: Seoul, Incheon, Daegu, Gyeonggi and Chungnam.  Not being satisfied with just a web page, I called the number.  I explained who I was and that my purpose in calling was to acquire information for our Ulsan-based foreigner population (that means you, Dear Reader.)  The nice lady who answered the phone in the Seoul  office spoke English well enough but then took my number and told me she’d call back.  It only took her five minutes to return the call.  She said for Ulsan residents, they should call the “local branch” at 052-261-7545. I was encouraged, but quickly learned that that number is simply the Ulsan immigration office.  She also gave me another number, 1345. But that  is the “Hi, Korea!!” immigration folks. Neither would be the saviour KNPA alleges.

For the time being, we here in Ulsan must content ourselves with using the local police agency as best we can. That means we must rely on our own broken Konglish or depend on the kindness of our Korean employers, friends or spouses to help us navigate the still mostly Korean-language-only Ulsan police agency.

Hey, Troy!  Where’s that special service for foreigners the local gum-shoes were interested in?