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What things are banned in South Korea?


South Korea is a country with a unique culture and strict laws, which can sometimes be surprising to outsiders. There are many things that are banned in South Korea, some of which may come as a surprise. In this article, we will explore the different things that are banned in South Korea and why they are prohibited.

Illegal Drugs

South Korea has very strict laws regarding drugs. All drugs, including marijuana, are illegal in the country, and possession of even small amounts can result in severe penalties. Police conduct regular drug tests and can search people at any time. The penalties for drug offenses include large fines, imprisonment, and even the death penalty.


Gambling is illegal in South Korea, with the exception of one casino located in the city of Incheon. Online gambling is also illegal and strictly enforced. Those caught gambling can face heavy fines and imprisonment.

Political Propaganda

Political propaganda is banned in South Korea. This means that posters, flyers, and other materials promoting political parties or candidates are not allowed. This law aims to prevent political parties from influencing voters through propaganda.

Adult Entertainment

Adult entertainment is heavily regulated in South Korea, and some forms of it are completely banned. This includes prostitution, strip clubs, and pornography. Those caught engaging in these activities can face imprisonment or fines.


South Korea has strict laws regarding weapons, including firearms and knives. Possession of firearms requires a special permit, and knives with blades longer than 6cm are illegal to carry without a valid reason.

Certain Types of Food Imports

South Korea has a ban on certain types of food imports from countries affected by diseases such as mad cow disease or avian flu. This includes beef from the US and poultry from China. This ban is in place to protect public health and prevent the spread of disease.

Unauthorized Drone Flights

Unauthorized drone flights are banned in South Korea, and those who break this law can face fines or imprisonment. Drones are also not allowed to fly in certain areas, including near airports, military bases, and government buildings.

Unapproved Medical Devices

Medical devices that have not been approved by the South Korean government are banned. This includes a wide range of products, from surgical implants to medical imaging equipment. This regulation is in place to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medical devices used in the country.

Unapproved Cosmetics

Cosmetics that have not been approved by the South Korean government are also banned. This includes products that have not been tested for safety or have been found to contain harmful ingredients. This regulation is in place to protect public health and ensure the quality of cosmetic products sold in the country.

Certain Political Activities

Certain political activities, such as protests or demonstrations, require prior approval from the government. Those who participate in unauthorized protests or demonstrations can face fines or imprisonment. This law aims to maintain order and prevent unrest.

Unauthorized Imports

South Korea has strict regulations regarding imports, and certain items are banned completely. This includes illegal drugs, weapons, counterfeit goods, and items that violate intellectual property laws. Those caught importing these items can face severe penalties.


In conclusion, South Korea has a variety of laws and regulations that restrict certain activities and imports. These laws are in place to protect public health, maintain order, and prevent illegal activities. It is essential to be aware of these regulations before traveling to South Korea to avoid any legal issues.

Can I bring my vape to Korea?

It is legal to bring your vape to Korea, so you are allowed to do so.

What is illegal to bring into Korea?

North Korea prohibits the importation of guns, drugs, pornographic materials, materials that promote subversion, materials that promote treason, and counterfeit goods. This policy has been in place since at least August 2, 2022.

Can I drink in Korea if I’m 19?

In Korea, the minimum legal age for drinking alcohol is 19 years old. While drinking in public is allowed, acting inappropriately while intoxicated can lead to expensive fines and a confrontation with law enforcement.

Are tattoos allowed in South Korea?

In South Korea, only licensed medical professionals are allowed to operate tattoo parlors by law, while non-medical tattoo artists are not permitted. However, having a tattoo is not against the law, except for in the military where it is prohibited. People are allowed to get tattoos after finishing their military service.

Can you wear leggings in Korea?

In Korea, it is not recommended to wear leggings in public as it may cause people to stare and view your outfit as inappropriate, especially when worn at work or school.

What social media is allowed in South Korea?

South Korea is ranked second in terms of the number of active social media users worldwide. Users in South Korea frequently use various platforms, such as KakaoTalk, Meta, Instagram, Naver LINE, and TikTok.


South Korea has a strict censorship policy for both traditional media and the internet. The government has the authority to block websites and censor content that is deemed harmful or offensive. This includes content related to North Korea, pornography, and hate speech.

Hate Speech

Hate speech is illegal in South Korea and is punishable by law. The country has seen an increase in hate speech targeting foreigners, particularly migrant workers, in recent years. The government has taken steps to combat this issue, including passing laws that require online platforms to remove hate speech and creating a task force to investigate hate crimes.

Plastic Bags

South Korea has implemented a law that bans retailers from providing free plastic bags to customers. Instead, customers must purchase reusable bags or bring their own. This law aims to reduce plastic waste and protect the environment.


Surrogacy is illegal in South Korea, including both commercial and altruistic surrogacy. Those caught participating in surrogacy can face imprisonment and fines. This law is in place to prevent the exploitation of women and protect the welfare of children.

Animal Cruelty

South Korea has recently strengthened its laws regarding animal cruelty. Animal abuse, such as killing, beating, or abandoning animals, is now punishable by imprisonment or fines. The country has also banned the slaughter of dogs for human consumption, although this practice still occurs illegally.


Smoking is banned in many public places in South Korea, including restaurants, bars, and cafes. The ban also includes e-cigarettes and vaping devices. Those caught smoking in prohibited areas can face fines.

Gender Discrimination

South Korea has laws that prohibit gender discrimination in the workplace and education system. However, gender inequality remains an issue in the country, and women continue to face challenges in various aspects of their lives. The government has taken steps to address this issue, including implementing affirmative action policies and increasing penalties for sexual harassment in the workplace.


South Korea has strong privacy laws that protect personal information. Companies must obtain consent from individuals before collecting and using their personal data. The government has also established a Personal Information Protection Commission to oversee and enforce privacy regulations.

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