Monday, May 19, 2008

Friend gets ticket for spitting

So my buddy, who is new to Korea, was in Itaewon on Saturday night. He spit on the ground while walking past the police department. Then a police officer grabbed him and told him he was getting a ticket for spitting. So my friend told the Korean officer that his name was "Ralph Waldo Emerson" and that he was from "Pizza School", a local pizza restaurant. The officer told my friend that he was going to receive a warning and then was let go. I guess the information gathering done by the officer was just a formality.

I was shocked to hear that it is illegal to spit in Korea because it seems like spitting is a national pastime here. I haven't gone a single day in Korea without seeing someone spit or stepping over spit on the streets or in the subway stations. I've been in Korea for about 20 months and have never heard of the law.

I posted about this on and a few people have flamed me for being so shocked. Here is a link to the thread if you care to read it. I'm just surprised that there is a law against spitting considering how many people do it. I think the people flaming me over there make it sound like they knew that spitting in Korea was a crime. I'm going to post some questions to them to see if they really did know that.

Anyways, here are some photos of the ticket that I promised to post. The fine is 30,000 won ($30).


At May 19, 2008 at 6:26 AM, Blogger skdragon said...

I've been in Korea for over 13 years, noone ever spelt out to me that it was illegal to spit here (I did imagine so). It was odd to have lived her for about 7 years with noone at all spitting anywhere, and then overnight and till this day left and right spit everywhere. I noticed spitting started some time after Koreans changed the $ and AM/PM around form the way English speakers do it to how the Koreans now do it.

At May 19, 2008 at 7:56 AM, Blogger Ed Provencher said...

Wow! 13 years! Do you mean that 오전/오후 used to be AM/PM? Btw, do you see spitting as a rude act in Korea? I don't think it is very clean, especially in the subway stations, but I'm beginning to think it's not rude if there is no evil intent behind it.

At May 29, 2008 at 6:11 AM, Blogger ambearo said...

Spitting is illegal here?!? That is news to me! Wow, I have been told that blowing your nose in public is considered rude here and therefore that's why you see people spitting all over the place. Strange.


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