A sauna in a tourist district in Busan is refusing to admit foreign customers to keep the majority of Korean customers happy, staff members of Bally Aqua Land said.
“We are not denying entry to all foreigners. We only ban those who look like foreigners,” said an employee of the jjimjilbang, which is located near Busan Station.
“We are okay with people from Asia. They look like us and it is hard to tell whether they are foreigners or not. But we do not allow those very big and tall people, who clearly look like foreigners.”
She alleged that foreign customers often anger Korean customers and that four foreigners were recently caught for sneaking into the women-only bathing area.
She also stressed that the sauna decided to refuse entry of foreigner couples because they are “too physically affectionate.”
“As this is a public space where many people use, an excessive display of physical affection cannot be tolerated,” the employee of Bally Aqua Land said.
“This is not their country and we cannot allow excessive physical contact in such a public place like this. You know, people don’t act like that in Korea.”
She claimed that motels should refuse service to teenage couples and so should Bally Aqua Land to foreign couples.
“Foreigners are far too excessive in displaying physical affection. That’s why we deny the entry of foreigner couples,” she said.
“They cause too much trouble.”
The owner of Bally Aqua Land has refused to comment over the overt discriminatory policy.
An American English teacher in Busan claimed that anyone other than Korean nationals would be denied of entry to the sauna.
“This location discriminates against foreigners. They only allow Koreans in. I am an English teacher living near there and want to use the spa sometimes,” he said on a consumer report forum of the Korea Observer.
“This is not right and should be fixed asap!”
Another expat with the screenname “edvenchers” also expressed disappointment in Bally Aqua Land.
“That happened to me at that same place about four or more years ago. I was told by the worker that the Koreans who visit there don’t want to share it with foreigners,” edvenchers said.
“I got in a taxi and went to another place.”
Hwang Pil-kyu, a human rights lawyer at Gonggam, claims that xenophobic business owners can continue to practice discriminatory policies because the Korean government and politicians hardly do anything to prevent racism.
“One of the most fundamental duties of the government is publicly and officially pointing out what is wrong,” he said.
“However, the Korean government is completely neglecting its duty and overlooking this important issue.”
It is almost impossible to punish racial discrimination and insults in Korea as the country does not have an anti-discrimination law.
The complaint was originally posted on http://www.koreaobserver.com/forums/topic/bally-aqualand-spa-busan-station/