Posted October. 06, 2003 22:52,
Since the Korean consulate at Beijing was not able to cope with the increasing number of people fleeing from North Korea, it has set forth that, starting October 7 it will cease all business related activities and change to civil petitions such as passport and issuing visas.
The admitted refugees from North Korea is excessive and are maxed out to our full capacity - holding us down by not allowing us to work on any other business activities, remarked the consulate on October 6, putting on an announcement at the front gate.
A legation overseas had never ceased its business except for the case of natural disasters or war. This measure seemed to have been in effect for a week. As SARS had broken out in China some months ago, the consulate at Beijing once had to stop part of its work, such as the marriage certificate however, did not cease all of its work.
According to this, visitors to China or Korea have to make use of the Korean vice-consulate at Shanghai, Gwangzhou, Chingdao and Shunyang.
Weve set up an improvised facility that can accommodate about 50 refugees, but as they have been skyrocketing during September, it has been holding up 120 to 130 refugees nowadays, remarked the spokesperson for the consulate.
As refugees enter the consulate, they are usually let through Chinese inspection before finally reaching out to the temporary accommodation. But recently, the Chinese government has been drawing out the process on purpose; the accommodation is being run over with refugees.
Too many refugees are packed into a small space. Setting aside the discomforts, our staffs are carrying out two shifts a day, stalling other work that needs to be done, said the spokesperson.
However, the consulate has passed on that petitions handed in through fax (6532-6778, 0141) or internet (firstname.lastname@example.org) can be handled like before.