Nearly 7,300 South Korean nationals were victims of accidents or crimes in other countries during the first half of this year, with 19 of them murdered, data showed Monday.
Data released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reveals that a total of 7,294 Korean nationals were victims of accidents or crimes while overseas during the 6-month period from January to June this year, marking an approximate 44 percent on-year increase.
This rise comes as Korea saw a more than sevenfold on-year increase in outbound tourists over the same period.
The largest proportion of incidents involved 2,478 individuals losing their belongings, followed by 1,220 cases of theft and 446 cases of fraud. Those implicated in traffic accidents, assaults and missing persons numbered 345, 277 and 207, respectively.
Regarding high-profile crimes, 64 individuals were victims of combined assault and robbery, and 38 were abducted and detained. The number of murder victims stood at 19, already surpassing last year’s total of 17.
Among the Asia-Pacific nations, Vietnam came out as the country in which the most crimes against Koreans occurred, at 633, followed by China and the Philippines with 581 and 523, respectively.
In the Americas, the United States reported the highest number of crimes against Koreans at 589, while the European continent had a total of 2,414 reported incidents in which Koreans were victims.
Addressing efforts to prevent Korean nationals from falling prey to crimes overseas, Rep. Park Hong-keun of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea stressed the need to prioritize security, as "many Koreans are expected to travel abroad during the 6-day Chuseok holiday.”
According to data from the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation and the Bank of Korea, the issuance of passports during the period from January to August this year totaled 3.67 million, representing a more than threefold increase compared to the same period last year.
During the first half of this year, the count of outbound tourists reached approximately 9.93 million, marking an 8.58 million increase from the figure of 1.35 million recorded last year.