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14 Bizarre Things You Didn’t Know Are Illegal in Korea | Crazy Laws of Korea That May Shock You

14 Bizarre Things You Didn’t Know Are Illegal in Korea | Crazy Laws of Korea That May Shock You

Korea is a modern, progressive nation but there are some laws and regulations in this country that might surprise you. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the things you didn’t know were illegal in Korea.

From the use of certain products to the restrictions on certain activities, it’s important to understand what you can and cannot do while visiting or living in Korea. From food to fashion, entertainment to education, we’ll discuss the most important laws and regulations that you should be aware of.

So if you’re planning a trip or move to Korea, make sure you read up on the laws and regulations before you go. Knowing what’s allowed and what’s not will help you stay out of trouble and have an enjoyable time while in Korea.


Tattooing is illegal in Korea, and anyone caught breaking the law faces a fine of up to two million won (around $2,000). This law was introduced in 1961, when tattoos were seen as a sign of criminal activity. Despite this, tattoos are still popular among some sections of society, particularly the younger population.

The reason for the ban is largely due to traditional views on body art in Korea. Tattoos have long been associated with gangsters and other forms of criminal activity. This association has been hard to shake off, and as a result, tattoos are still seen as taboo in Korea.

Because of the law, people who want to get tattoos must travel abroad to do so. This has led to a rise in ‘tattoo tourism’, with people traveling to countries such as Japan and the US to get their ink done.

Despite the popularity of tattoos among younger generations, it is still illegal in Korea and anyone caught breaking the law will face a fine.

Smoking in Public

In Korea, smoking in public is illegal. This includes parks, beaches, and other public places. The law was introduced in an effort to reduce the health risks associated with second-hand smoke. The penalty for breaking this law is a fine of up to 50,000 won (approximately $45).

Smokers in Korea are encouraged to use designated smoking areas, which can be found in many public spaces. These areas are clearly marked and often have ashtrays and seating for smokers. Additionally, some businesses and restaurants are allowed to have indoor smoking areas.

It is important to follow the law and respect the rights of those who do not want to be exposed to second-hand smoke. Not only is this practice illegal in Korea, it is also a sign of respect for others. Smoking in public areas should be avoided, and smokers should always use designated smoking areas when available.

Dog Meat

Dog meat is now officially illegal in South Korea. This marks a major victory for animal rights activists, who have been campaigning for years to end the practice of eating dogs in the country. The new law bans the slaughter, sale, and purchase of dog meat, and anyone who violates the law could face fines or up to two years in prison.

The decision to ban dog meat is a significant step forward in the fight against animal cruelty. For too long, dogs have been mistreated and abused for the purpose of producing food for humans. This new law sends a strong message that this type of inhumane treatment of animals will no longer be tolerated. It also provides hope to animal advocates that more countries will follow suit and take steps to ensure the humane treatment of all animals.


Government lobbying is illegal in Korea. Under the Korean Public Service and National Assembly Act, all forms of lobbying for personal interests or for the interests of organizations are prohibited. This includes the offering of money or other compensation to government officials in exchange for a favorable outcome or decision.

Furthermore, the act forbids any individual or organization from using their influence to gain an advantage or to interfere with the decision-making process of a government official. Violations of this law can result in criminal charges and significant financial penalties. As such, it is important to understand and abide by the laws in Korea when it comes to lobbying.


Gambling is illegal in Korea both in law and in practice. Although gambling is technically illegal in the country, there are still some forms of gambling that are allowed, such as horse racing and boat racing. However, all other forms of gambling are strictly prohibited. This includes online gambling, which is increasingly popular in many parts of the world.

The Korean government strictly enforces the law against gambling, and penalties for those found to be participating in any form of illegal gambling can be severe. There have been reports of people being arrested and even imprisoned for participating in illegal gambling activities. In addition to the legal ramifications, gambling can also have serious social consequences, as it can lead to addiction and financial ruin. For these reasons, it is important to abide by the law and avoid any form of gambling in Korea.


Pornography is illegal in Korea, and the country has some of the strictest laws regarding the production, possession, and consumption of pornography in the world. While this may seem draconian to some, it is actually rooted in the nation's longstanding cultural values.

In Korea, there is a strong belief that pornography undermines morality and threatens the safety of children and women. Additionally, there is a widespread perception that pornography has a negative impact on individuals, families, and society as a whole. As a result of these beliefs, the Korean government has taken a hardline stance against porn, with penalties for those who break the law including hefty fines and possible imprisonment. For these reasons, it is important to be aware of the laws surrounding pornography if you are traveling to or living in Korea.

Online Gaming

Online gaming is illegal in Korea. The country has some of the toughest internet regulations in the world, and playing online games is strictly prohibited. This has been enforced by the Korean Communications Standards Commission, which regularly monitors online gaming websites and shuts them down when they are found to be operating in violation of the law.

The Commission also works with law enforcement agencies to track down and prosecute those found to be violating the law. In addition, the government has imposed hefty fines on both players and game developers who are found to be in violation of the law. It is important for gamers in Korea to understand the rules and regulations pertaining to online gaming, and to abide by them at all times. Failure to do so could result in serious penalties.

Street Vendors

Street vendors are a common sight in many cities around the world, but in Korea, they are illegal. This law has been in place since the 1950s, when the government implemented strict regulations to help maintain public order. The law prohibits the sale of food and goods on the street without a license. The government argued that street vendors posed a risk to public health and safety and that they were also a source of illegal activities.

However, there has been a recent push to legalize street vendors in Korea, as they provide an important source of income for many people. Proponents argue that the law should be relaxed in order to allow more people to earn a living, while opponents argue that it would lead to increased crime and safety risks. It remains to be seen whether the law will eventually be changed.

Late Night Teaching

In Korea, late night teaching is illegal. This policy was introduced in an effort to protect students' health and wellbeing and to help them get the rest they need for learning. Late night teaching is defined as any class that runs after 10 pm.

This law applies to all educational institutions, including private and public schools, universities, academies, and language schools. It is enforced by the Ministry of Education and violators can be subject to fines or other penalties.

The policy has been met with some criticism. Some educators argue that it limits their ability to offer classes to students who have full-time jobs and can only attend evening classes. However, the policy is designed to ensure that students are not overworked and can get the rest they need for proper learning.


Marijuana is illegal in Korea, and the penalty for using or possessing it can be severe. Possession of any amount of marijuana is considered a crime in Korea, and it can result in jail time, heavy fines, and other penalties. The laws around marijuana use and possession are strictly enforced, and even foreign visitors can be prosecuted if caught with marijuana in Korea.

In addition to legal penalties, there are also social consequences associated with marijuana use in Korea. Marijuana is widely viewed as a drug that is dangerous and immoral, and those who use it are often looked down upon by society. This stigma can make it difficult for people who use marijuana to find employment or housing.

Overall, it's important to remember that marijuana is illegal in Korea, and those who are caught with it can face serious consequences. It's best to avoid using or possessing marijuana while in Korea.


Spitting in public places is illegal in South Korea, and offenders face hefty fines. This law is part of the country's efforts to maintain cleanliness in cities and towns, as well as to promote good hygiene habits. The ban applies to all forms of spitting, including expectoration from the mouth, nose, and throat. It is intended to reduce the spread of germs and keep public spaces and surfaces hygienic.

Fines for spitting can be as high as 10 million won and offenders may also face jail time if the violation is severe. In order to keep public areas clean and safe, it is important for citizens to abide by these laws and avoid spitting in public.

Sheer Tops

In Korea, sheer tops are illegal. This law applies to any type of clothing that is transparent or sheer. This includes both tops and bottoms with sheer fabrics, as well as clothes that are overly tight or revealing. The law is enforced by police officers, who can issue fines or even arrest those who violate it.

The purpose of the law is to maintain public decency and combat the sexualization of women. It is also designed to prevent people from feeling uncomfortable in public spaces due to others wearing clothing that is too revealing. Although the law has been criticized for being overly restrictive, it is still in place and those who ignore it can face serious consequences. For those who live in or plan to visit Korea, it is important to remember that sheer tops are illegal.


In Korea, the wearing of miniskirts is illegal in certain contexts. This law was implemented in 2019 by the Korean government in an effort to crack down on what is viewed as inappropriate or lewd behavior. The law applies to all public spaces, including schools, parks, and even beaches. Anyone caught wearing a miniskirt in public will be subject to a fine or even arrest.

It is important to note that this law does not apply to all types of skirts. Longer skirts and dresses are still acceptable, as long as they are not too revealing. This law also does not apply to private spaces, such as someone's home or a private event.

The law has been met with mixed reactions from the public. While some people support the idea of discouraging inappropriate behavior in public spaces, others feel that it is too restrictive and that it unfairly targets women. Either way, it is clear that the wearing of miniskirts in public spaces is now forbidden in Korea.

Bonus round! Adultery

Adultery used to be illegal in Korea, but the law was repealed. Under the old law, adultery was punishable by up to two years in prison. This law was highly controversial, with critics arguing that it was an invasion of privacy and violated the rights of individuals. The law also disproportionately affected women, as men were rarely prosecuted for adultery.

The law was eventually repealed due to its unpopularity and the growing recognition that adultery is a private matter. In addition, the court ruled that the law violated the constitutional right to privacy and was too vague and subjective for effective enforcement.

While adultery is no longer illegal in Korea, it still carries a social stigma. Those who are found to have committed adultery often face public shaming, ostracism, and other forms of societal punishment. As such, it is important to remember that even though the law has been changed, it is still important to think carefully before engaging in extra-marital relationships.

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