South Korea Now Has “Gangnam Style” Tourist Police

The Korea Tourism Organization credits the parody of the city's affluent Gangnam district for boosting tourism

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Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

South Korean 'tourist police' officers are sworn in during their inauguration ceremony at Gwanghwamun square in Seoul, Oct. 16, 2013.

South Korea will now cater to tourists who think everything in the country is straight out of Psy’s viral video “Gangnam Style,” a parody of the city’s affluent neighborhood that now boasts more than 1.7 billion views on YouTube.

(Q&A: Psy Talks Newfound Fame)

AFP reports that the new force of “tourist police” in Seoul, the country’s capital, will be made up of 100 men and women in dark blue uniforms designed by the pop star’s stylist. They’re also fluent in languages like English, Mandarin, and Japanese.

“Those who think they were overcharged by taxi drivers or street food vendors can come and talk to us. We will help settle the problem,” one of the new recruits Park Jae-Hyoung told AFP. That being said, if one of these tourist police officers sidles up to you in a sauna or screams at your bum while you’re doing yoga outdoors — actual scenes from “Gangnam Style” — you’ll need to call real authorities.

(MORE: Psy Unveils His New ‘Gentleman’ Video and Dance at Extravagant Seoul Concert)

The hope is that these unarmed officers will become tourist attractions themselves, as the Korea Tourism Organization credits the viral video for making the capital, and particularly Gangnam, the affluent neighborhood it satirizes, a destination, especially for a growing number of Americans. “From now on, you guys will be very busy having pictures taken with tourists,” its CEO Charm Lee said at a launch event Wednesday in the city.

As Psy’s “Gangnam Style” played in the background, the officers broke out into Psy’s signature move in the video, where he pretends to ride an invisible horse — though no word on whether they will patrol the streets on invisible horses.

shannon moderator

Test comment.


Seoul is a hidden gem.  Extremely cosmopolitan.  Full of highly educated people (look up the MA degrees per capita).  Booming with tech and industry (think Samsung, LG, Hyundai, KIA)... all in a country that shouldn't have the clout it has based on actual square mileage.  Last I checked, the 11th largest economy in the world... in a country that could fit into Iowa (a few times!).

Loved my time working/living there.  Gone are the days of MASH... this place is more happening than most of America.  Always found it funny when people in the Midwest (no hate... I used to live in Oklahoma City and the like) would make fun of Asian countries like Korea or Singapore when the standard of living was so much higher, the educational rates astronomically above said American regions (statistically! no hate intended).

Sure, there are cultural differences.  But look up every global index for science/math... Korea was #1 or #2 worldwide.  As a purebred American often accused of bigotry for my jokes, I only could give credit to these people when living there.