Monday, 4 July 2011

Bin Laden and East Asia South Korea ready for terror?

It is 3rd August 2009, I leave the plane which just landed heading from Amsterdam to Seoul Incheon airport. After a not very thorough check up I am already in the car with my Korean friend. A nice pretty Asian lady smiles to me here and there and asks if I need anything and if I am comforted enough.

South Korea is one of the safest countries in the world. It has a unique cultural system based on the respect for rules and for the elders, where certain grey moral zone stays hidden from mass sight, and an average citizen is rather happy and confident that neither he will do anything threatening to the society nor it shall be done to him.

Although culturally explained cases of corruption influence negatively business and are a challenge, you may be quite confident that once you leave your DSLR on subway or loose a wallet, your chances to get it back are nearly 100%. Not big chances for the same in Europe, right?

In a society that trusts eachother like this everyone is nice and open. People are friendly. But after G20 summit I attended last year there have been comments that Korea is not protected enough against terror attack, due to lack of thorough security, big amount of trust given to everyone and poor intelligence among communities which may be a bigger source of a threat.

Not that a danger of terror attack is big. Korea does it's best to do business with everyone and asks very limited number of questions. Is a very non-threatening and stabilizing power of growth in many corners of the world. So far this strategy works very well.

This year in Seoul there were 3 blasts, yet unconnected to global terror networks. A very "creative" ex-convict thought to earn cash on falling stocks if he triggers panic. He invested about $45 000 ( 50 mln KRW). He did not gain much and instead was very quickly arrested. Soth Korea, and especially Seoul, has one of the most efficient networks of municipal survelllence> Cameras are almost hidden from sight, they are installed on very high buildings, but their resolution  enables to take a clear facial snapshot of a suspect, or the plate numbers if needed. 

Applying more strict security measures in future is rather necessary if Korea wants to play global ( and it does). Sad fact is that it shall destroy one of the most wonderful aspects of this remarkable country, enormous hospitality and trust. Luckily so far Bin Ladens of this world leave Koreans alone. 


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