“Hello, sir, (the tent) needs to be raised on both sides. Would you like me to upload it for you?”
At 4:30 pm on the 12th, at Hangang Park in Yeouido, Seoul, a sheriff raised his voice toward a tent with all doors and windows closed. The tent, which had been unresponsive for several seconds, began to wriggle. The bottom zipper of the tent slowly opened, revealing a man and a woman who appeared to be teenagers, as if they had just woken up. As if making excuses, they said, “I was sleeping…” “He said and opened the tent door. As if comforting those who woke up, the sheriff said, “It’s because this is not a camping area. “I don’t want any unpleasant accidents to happen,” he explained.
The reporters followed the crackdown on so-called ‘closed tents’ on the Han River, now in its fifth year of enforcement. The enforcement team patrols with two security guards every hour, every day. On this day, about 100 tents were set up at Yeouido Hangang Park to welcome the cooler fall weather, even though it was a weekday. Most tents had their doors open according to the regulations, but about 10 tents were violating the rule that ‘at least two out of four sides must be open.’ When the sheriff said, “Are you there? We need to open both sides of the door,” the citizens responded, “Oh, yes,” and appeared to be hastily opening the door. Ms. Lee (17, female), who was caught by the crackdown squad while closing the tent door with her boyfriend, said, “I closed the door because it was cold while I was sleeping. “She didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to close the door,” she said.
The sheriff even opened the tent door himself instead of the citizen, asking, “Would you like me to bring it up?” This is because the tents commonly rented nearby have windows that can be opened and closed from the outside. Sheriff Noh Byeong-kwon of Yeouido Hangang Park said, “When conducting crackdowns, there are embarrassing moments due to a couple’s affectionate behavior.” He added, “Sometimes we wait slowly until the door opens, or say, ‘I’ll be back in a moment,’ and leave to give them time to clean up.” .
The crackdown on tents along the Han River began on April 22, 2019, when former Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon enacted the ‘Ordinance on the Preservation and Use of the Seoul Hangang Park’. This was a measure taken in response to a series of complaints that “there are many embarrassing cases of affectionate behavior with the tent door closed.” Tents must be installed only in permitted areas, and at least two of the four sides of the tent must be open. The allowable time for tents to be set up, which previously could have been set up until 9 p.m., has also been extended to 7 p.m. Among metropolitan local governments nationwide, Seoul is the only one implementing it.
However, the tent crackdown has been a topic of controversy since its introduction, as fines for violations are set high at over 1 million won. In particular, in the case of the regulation of opening more than two sides of a tent, there was a backlash that the enforcement team moving around to look into each tent and force the door to be opened was an infringement on privacy.
“Protect what you need to protect”
vs “Invasion of privacy”Now in the fifth year of the crackdown, citizens’ reactions have been mixed. Like the complaint originally filed, there were opinions in favor of the crackdown. Ms. Cha (21, female) said, “I don’t know if it’s necessary to do it here because I can just go somewhere else (affection),” and added, “I think it’s good to crack down on it.” Chan-ho Ma (32, male) said, “As it is a public place, it is right to protect what is to be protected. “If convenience is provided to set up a tent, this level must be maintained,” he said. He also said, “There are rules, so follow them. There was also a significant number of people who said, “There is nothing inconvenient about opening the door.”
However, there were many people who were uncomfortable with the crackdown. Mr. Kim (33, male), who was eating chicken in a tent with a friend, said, “It’s so hot that I just want to wear a hoodie and a singlet, but I want to close the door because I’m afraid it will be unsightly for people스포츠토토 around me.” He added, “Forcing people to open the door is free.” “It is an infringement on ,” he said. Jeon Mo (34, male) said, “Honestly, you can at least kiss in the park,” and added, “It’s funny that the government controls this. “If that logic goes, shouldn’t all the cars in the Han River parking lot open their doors?” he protested.
Maria (22) from Germany said, “This is unimaginable in European countries such as Germany and Italy. We don’t care who does what in the park.” Eddie (23), a German man next to me, said, “Skinship or kissing between couples is natural and beautiful and not something to be ashamed of. “Forcing the door to open seems like an invasion of privacy,” she said.
Considering this public opinion, Seoul City is focusing on guidance rather than punishment such as imposing fines. In fact, the number of fines imposed since the crackdown was implemented is only 9 cases in total: 1 case in 2019, 1 case in 2020, 7 cases in 2021, and 0 cases in 2022-2023. The number of guidance cases was the highest at 20,126 in 2019, and continues to be high at 15,117 in 2020, 15,672 in 2021, 11,345 in 2022, and about 5,300 as of September this year. This year, the city of Seoul is deploying 146 sheriffs to the camping and cooking control team, including tent crackdowns.
An official from the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Future Hangang Headquarters said, “In principle, setting up tents such as camping or cooking is prohibited on the Han River according to Seoul city ordinance, but only for ‘shade’ purposes are allowed,” adding, “Because the purpose is to block sunlight,” he said. “There is justification for opening the tent,” he said. Regarding the controversy over invasion of privacy, he said, “I hope that the opening of two sides will be viewed as a minimum regulation to maintain public order.”