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Is it legal to carry pepper spray in Korea?


Pepper spray is a popular self-defense tool that has gained popularity across the world. However, the legality of carrying pepper spray varies from country to country. In this article, we will focus on Korea and explore whether it is legal to carry pepper spray in Korea.

Overview of self-defense laws in Korea

Before we delve into the legality of carrying pepper spray in Korea, it is important to understand the laws governing self-defense in the country. In Korea, the use of force for self-defense is considered legal if it is proportional to the threat faced. However, the use of a weapon for self-defense is strictly prohibited unless licensed.

What is Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray, also known as OC spray, is a chemical compound that irritates the eyes, nose, and throat of an attacker. It causes temporary blindness and intense discomfort, giving the victim time to escape or call for help.

Is Pepper Spray Legal in Korea?

Pepper spray is considered a weapon in Korea and falls under the firearms and explosives control act. As per this act, any weapon that can cause harm or injury is illegal unless licensed. Therefore, carrying pepper spray without a license is illegal in Korea.

Getting a License for Pepper Spray

To obtain a license for pepper spray in Korea, one needs to apply to the local police station. The applicant needs to provide valid reasons for needing pepper spray and undergo training on how to use it effectively. The license needs to be renewed every two years.

Penalties for Carrying Pepper Spray Illegally

Carrying pepper spray without a license is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to 15 million won (approximately $13,000). Additionally, if the pepper spray is used in self-defense without a license, the user may face criminal charges.

Alternatives to Pepper Spray

If carrying pepper spray is not an option, there are other self-defense tools one can carry in Korea. Some popular alternatives include personal alarms, stun guns, and tasers. However, it is important to note that some of these alternatives may also require a license.

Restrictions on Pepper Spray

Even with a license, there are restrictions on where and how one can carry pepper spray in Korea. It is illegal to carry pepper spray in certain areas such as public transportation or government buildings. Additionally, the use of pepper spray is strictly for self-defense purposes only.

How Effective is Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is considered an effective self-defense tool when used appropriately. However, it is important to note that its effectiveness depends on various factors such as the strength of the spray and the distance between the victim and attacker.

Pepper Spray Safety Tips

When carrying pepper spray, it is important to follow some safety tips to avoid accidental harm. These include keeping the spray away from children, storing it in a cool and dry place, and practicing using it before an emergency.


In conclusion, carrying pepper spray without a license is illegal in Korea. While obtaining a license for pepper spray is possible, it comes with restrictions and requires training. It is important to explore other self-defense alternatives and follow safety tips when carrying any self-defense tool.

Can you legally carry around pepper spray?

Pepper spray is allowed for personal protection in all 50 states, but there may be state and local regulations and limitations that apply.

Are Korean citizens allowed to have guns?

South Korea has strict regulations for gun ownership, as outlined in the Act on the Safety Management of Guns, Swords, Explosives, etc. This law mandates that all private guns must be stored at local police stations, and all owners must receive and regularly renew gun permits.

What is age of consent in South Korea?

In South Korea, the legal age of consent is 20 years old, which is one of the highest ages of consent globally, as per Article 305 of the Criminal Act. In the past, the age of consent in South Korea was one of the lowest in the world, at 13 years old.

Is tattooing illegal in South Korea?

In South Korea, only licensed medical professionals are allowed to open tattoo parlors according to the law, rather than artists who don’t have medical degrees. However, having a tattoo itself is not against the law except for in the military, which prohibits tattoos. Individuals can get tattoos after serving their time in the military.

Is pepper spray banned in USA?

Pepper spray has been authorized for self-defense in some form or another in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Roughly half of these states have implemented limitations on the use and ownership of pepper spray, with some only allowing its use for self-defense purposes.

What neutralizes pepper spray?

Create a cleaning solution by mixing 25% “Dawn” dishwashing detergent and 75% water. While it may be possible to use less detergent, this specific formula has always been effective. Use cold water and prepare at least one gallon of the solution as you will need to wash the affected area 7 to 8 times.

It is also important to note that self-defense tools like pepper spray should not be relied on as the sole means of protection. Learning self-defense techniques, being aware of one’s surroundings, and avoiding dangerous situations are also essential in staying safe.

Moreover, it is essential to research and understand the laws and regulations regarding self-defense tools before carrying them in any country. What may be legal in one country may not be in another, and ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

In Korea, the government takes a strict stance on the use of weapons for self-defense, as it seeks to maintain public safety. Thus, it is crucial to abide by the laws and regulations to avoid facing legal repercussions.

In conclusion, while pepper spray can be an effective self-defense tool, carrying it without a license in Korea is illegal. Obtaining a license requires training and comes with restrictions on where and how it can be carried. It is important to explore other alternatives and practice safety measures when carrying any self-defense tool. Additionally, learning self-defense techniques and being aware of one’s surroundings can also aid in staying safe.

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