The Korea Herald


5 Chinese nationals detained in Jeju for gambling debt-related false imprisonment

By Moon Ki Hoon

Published : Nov. 27, 2023 - 13:54

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Jeju Seobu Police detained five Chinese nationals for the false imprisonment of a fellow Chinese national concerning a gambling debt of 50 million won ($38,000) on Monday, authorities confirmed Thursday.

According to police, the victim had initially borrowed the sum for gambling purposes, agreeing to a 10 percent interest rate. However, the suspects allegedly increased the interest to 20 percent three days later, with which the victim refused to comply.

When the victim refused to sign a new debt agreement, the suspects confined him in a local hotel room. The victim managed to alert authorities in the early hours of Thursday, leading to the suspects' arrest at the scene.

The suspects reportedly denied any wrongdoing. They face charges of unlawful confinement and violating the Interest Limitation Act, which caps annual interest rates at 20 percent.

The incident reflects a recurring pattern of crime involving Chinese nationals on Jeju Island, a popular tourist destination known for its visa-free policy since 2002. The island's eight foreigner-only casinos, which attracted 139,610 visitors and generated revenue of 89 billion won in the first half of 2023, have been a significant draw among Chinese tourists, leading to occasional illegal lending practices related to gambling money.

On Nov. 14, local police apprehended eight Chinese nationals for assaulting and robbing another Chinese individual over a gambling debt of 100 million won. In a similar case on Nov. 19, a Chinese national was arrested for forcibly detaining a compatriot in a hotel room over a 36 million won debt.