Seoul to institute new bans

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Photo credit: Starlight Press LLC

Not satisfied with their new ban on smoking in public places, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has decided to initiate some additional bans. “We’ve discovered that if we put a ban on something, a small minority of people actually stop doing that thing”, said one city council member.

The new ban on smoking in public places will mean bus stops and public parks will become smoke-free, and will also require those areas to create a separate smoking section. Anyone caught smoking at these places will be fined 100,000 won, or about $91 USD.

The manager of Seoul parks, Lee Geum Yeon, laughed when he read of the new ban. In an interview, Lee said, “you mean people will suddenly stop smoking in places where they’ve smoked for decades, and I’m the one that’s supposed to set up a ‘separate smoking section?’”. The interview, unfortunately, did not continue further, as Mr. Lee found himself in an uncontrollable laughing fit. Seoul National Hospital reports he is still laughing now, some 6 hours after we started the interview.

The new set of laws, set to take effect on May 1st, 2011, will ban motorcycles driving on sidewalks, talking loudly on mobile phones, and vomiting on sidewalks. A city council member, speaking on condition of anonymity, said these were the “three biggest complaints” locals had regarding conditions of everyday life. Although no reference was made to the potential revenue of these laws, one person was optimistic. “We’ve caught a few people on our various other bans, like our ‘no smoking in the bathrooms’ law. That means every public bathroom is completely smoke-free!”, said Kim Min-jeong, a consultant for the Seoul city government. Kim later retreated to a bathroom stall for a quick cigarette, past two ‘no-smoking’ signs and next to another stall where visible smoke emanated from the top.

The ‘talking loudly on mobile phones’ ban could prove to be the most difficult of the three to enforce. “Since no person will turn themselves in for talking loudly, we must first receive a complaint from a Korean citizen,” said the aforementioned city council member. “That complaint must be heard by a police officer, who must then make their way to the scene in question, witness the loud conversation, then administer a hearing test of the offender. If it can be shown that the person’s hearing is impaired, they could be justified in speaking loudly,” he continued. An exemption was also made for people over the age of 50, who both naturally speak loudly and whom the police have no control over to begin with.

As for the ‘no motorcycles driving on sidewalks’ ban, the police have already begun efforts to step up enforcement. They plan to obtain several hundred motorcycles of their own, in an effort to chase the offending motorcyclists down and write them a ticket. This will, of course, be done on the same sidewalks that millions of pedestrians use everyday, although they say not to worry. “The police plan to employ former pizza and chicken delivery cyclists to chase down the current pizza and chicken delivery cyclists,” the police spokesperson said.

An additional ban on walking drunkenly or erratically was considered and ultimately rejected, as it turns out most locals do that while sober.

This is satire. Yep, it’s back baby! The smoking ban is real (see the link), and has as much chance in succeeding as a snowball’s chance in hell.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2011

This post was originally published on my blog ,Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.

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