The Bulletin

Will 'Gangnam Style' police help tourists in South Korea?

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A music video produced by South Korean rapper Psy has been viewed on YouTube over a billion times, but can the popularity of the song help tourists in South Korea?

The country's government thinks so, and plans to milk the success of the video for all it's worth. The unveiling of capital Seoul's new tourist police force reveals the connection -- the uniforms have been developed by fashion designer Kim Seo-ryong, who makes costumes for Psy.

At an event officially launching the new force in Seoul, naturally, Psy's hit was played in the background.

According to CNN, South Korea's Tourism Board (KTO) said the force was launched in response to the rising number of visitors to the capital. The tourist police officer force is made up of 101 men and women. An official announcement said:

"These tourist police officers will be patrolling major tourist areas in Seoul such as Myeong-dong, Insa-dong, Itaewon Tourist Special Zone and Hongdae. Aside from maintaining law and order and cracking down on overcharging merchants and taxi drivers, the officers will also be providing tourist assistance in English, Japanese and Chinese."

According to the Korea Tourism Organization, tourist complaints involving overcharging by retailers rose from 23.6 percent of all complaints filed by foreign tourists in 2008 to 34.7 percent last year.

The tourist police force will only be stationed in Seoul for now, but the government plans to expand the scheme to other regions in the coming years.

Via: CNN

Image credit: Flickr

— By on October 17, 2013, 9:30 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure