Starting next month, those caught smoking in the national parks, including those in Bukhan Mountain and Seorak Mountain, will be fined up to two million Korean won. Even those who possess a lighter or matches are imposed with penalties.
On Tuesday, Korea's Ministry of Environment announced that the Cabinet meeting approved the revised enforcement ordinance on the Natural Parks Act, including raising fines for illegal activities within the national, provincial, and county parks. The revised ordinance will be applied immediately upon notification early next month.
Originally, fines imposed against smoking in the national parks were 100,000 won for those caught for the first time and then raised to 200,000 won for the second time and 300,000 won for the third. However, starting from November, the first timers shall be imposed the penalties of 600,000 won, one million won for the second time, and two million won for the third. Carrying inflammable such as lighters, matches, or a burner into those parks may also be fined with the same amounts of penalties each time.
Officials at the Ministry of Environment said that the penalties were increased to alarm the visitors as the wildfires devastated the mountains of Uljin and Samcheok in 2021. The wildfire in Buk County in Uljin in March last year burnt off a total of 209.23 Sq. kilometers of land for nine days, afflicting over 160 billion won in damages.
Drinking in places where it is prohibited, including shelters, trails, and mountain tops, is also imposed with increased fines, starting from November, of 100,000 won, a two-fold rise from the current 50,000 won. So far, those caught drinking for the second time were fined the penalty of 100,000 won.
Mee-Jee Lee firstname.lastname@example.org