Another incident during a major US holiday weekend took place at Haeundae Beach, prompting anger from locals for the second time since COVID-19 began here last February.
Last Saturday and Sunday, there were a series of violations of quarantine regulations as more than 2,000 foreigners including US soldiers celebrated the US Memorial Day at Haeundae Beach.
Busan Police Agency, Haeundae district office, and others conducted a joint crackdown and caught at least 200 cases of violations but all were given only verbal warnings.
Most violated domestic quarantine rules by not wearing a mask and gathering in groups of 5 or more.
Everyone is currently required to wear masks outside in Korea whether vaccinated or not. The gathering of five or more people is prohibited as is eating or drinking on the beach at night under current social distancing guidelines laid out by the city of Busan.
In front of Busan Port’s Pier 8 yesterday afternoon, civic groups and the Progressive Party called for strong government action against the poor application of quarantine regulations for foreign nationals.
The civic groups also strongly condemned the violation of quarantine rules and demanded that USFK be banned from leaving their bases.
They said that “there was strong public condemnation over last year’s Independence Day incident, and as a result of not taking any follow-up measures, the same thing happened again this year.”
USFK spokesman Colonel Lee Peters said they are aware of the incident and are working with Korean police to see if USFK related personnel were involved and won’t comment until the investigation is complete.
Last Independence Day weekend, the US consulate had to express strong regret over a firecracker incident at Haeundae Beach involving US soldiers stationed in Korea.
The USFK expressed in a statement at the time that the behavior was “deeply troubling” and not representative of “the strong respect we hold for the Korean people, their culture, laws, and regulations.”