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Is self-defense legal in Korea?


Self-defense is a basic human right that allows individuals to protect themselves from harm. However, the legality of self-defense varies from one country to another. In this article, we will explore the legal status of self-defense in Korea.

The Korean Legal System

Before delving into the specifics of self-defense laws in Korea, it is important to understand the legal system in the country. Korea operates on a civil law system, which means that laws are primarily based on written statutes rather than case law.

Self-Defense Laws in Korea

In Korea, self-defense is legal under certain conditions. According to Article 10 of the Korean Criminal Act, individuals are allowed to use force to defend themselves or others from imminent harm.

What Constitutes Self-Defense in Korea?

To claim self-defense in Korea, the individual must be facing an immediate threat of harm. Additionally, the amount of force used in self-defense must be proportionate to the threat faced.

Self-Defense Against Unlawful Acts

If an individual is defending themselves against an unlawful act, such as assault or robbery, they may use force to protect themselves. However, if the act is deemed lawful or if excessive force is used, the individual may face legal consequences.

Self-Defense Against Law Enforcement

In Korea, it is illegal to use force against law enforcement officers, even if they are acting unlawfully. The individual may only use force if they are being subjected to excessive force by the officer.

Stand Your Ground Laws in Korea

Korea does not have stand your ground laws like those found in some parts of the United States. This means that individuals cannot use deadly force when faced with an imminent threat unless they have exhausted all other options.

Concealed Carry Laws in Korea

Korea has strict gun laws, and civilians are generally not allowed to carry firearms. However, there are exceptions for certain professions such as security guards and law enforcement officers.

Legal Consequences of Self-Defense in Korea

If an individual uses force in self-defense in Korea, they may still face legal consequences. The individual must be able to prove that the amount of force used was proportionate to the threat faced.

What to Do After a Self-Defense Incident in Korea?

After a self-defense incident in Korea, it is important to contact the authorities as soon as possible. It is also advisable to seek legal counsel to ensure that all rights are protected.


Self-defense is legal in Korea under certain conditions. Individuals must be facing an imminent threat of harm and the amount of force used must be proportionate to the threat faced. It is important to understand the legal system in Korea and to seek legal counsel after a self-defense incident.

Is it legal to carry pepper spray in Korea?

In South Korea, it is legal to have pepper spray that contains OC, but you need a permit to distribute, own, or carry pepper spray that has pre-compressed gas or explosive propellent. Pepper spray that does not contain pre-compressed gas or explosive propellent is not restricted.

Can you carry a knife in Korea?

It is not permissible to possess weapons, even if they have been legally purchased. This includes knives and swords, which are also prohibited.

Can you have tasers in Korea?

I conducted research on topics such as whether a typhoid vaccine is required to pass airport security and the legality of tasers in South Korea. The findings revealed that no one checks for typhoid vaccines at airports and tasers are indeed illegal in Korea. Therefore, it is advised to refrain from carrying a taser while visiting the country.

What can you not bring into Korea?

The Republic of Korea prohibits the importation of certain items such as guns, drugs, pornographic material, subversive material, materials related to treason, and counterfeit goods. If you need more information about Korea’s export controls and the list of items that are subject to export control, click on the “export controls” link. This information was last updated on August 2, 2022.

Are guns legal in South Korea?

The use of firearms in South Korea is governed by the Act on the Safety Management of Guns, Swords, Explosives, etc. This law mandates that all private firearms must be kept in police stations and that their owners must obtain and regularly update gun permits. These regulations have been very successful in promoting safety.

What age is legal in South Korea?

South Korea has one of the highest ages of consent in the world, which is 20 years old according to Article 305 of the Criminal Act. This is in contrast to the previous age of consent of 13, which was among the lowest in the world.

It is also important to note that self-defense laws in Korea may differ for foreigners. Non-Korean citizens may face additional legal challenges and consequences, such as deportation or denial of future visa applications, even if their actions were deemed lawful under Korean self-defense laws.

Furthermore, it is crucial for individuals to be aware of their surroundings and to take necessary precautions to avoid situations that may lead to violence. This includes staying in well-lit areas and avoiding walking alone at night.

In addition to physical self-defense, Koreans also have the right to protect themselves online. The Korean government has enacted laws to combat cyberbullying and online harassment. Victims of such acts may seek legal recourse and protection from the authorities.

Overall, while self-defense is a fundamental human right in Korea, it is important to understand the specific laws and limitations surrounding it. Awareness and preparedness can go a long way in preventing violence and protecting oneself from harm.

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