South Korea bans travel to parts of Philippines

South Korea has imposed a travel ban on some areas of the Philippines following a series of violent crimes against its nationals in the country, the Foreign Ministry there said Thursday.

 
Starting next Tuesday, South Koreans will be banned from visiting or residing in four regions of the southern island of Mindanao — Zamboanga, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, the ministry said in a statement.

 
The decision comes after a South Korean man in his 70s was found dead last month after being kidnapped by Muslim militants in Zamboanga in January.

 
Nine Koreans have been murdered in the Southeast Asian country this year alone amid a steady rise in violent crimes against civilians.

 
Under South Korean law, those who visit an area under a travel ban face up to one year in prison or up to 10 million won ($8,700) in fines.

 
The ministry also said it has raised its travel warning on the eastern coast of Malaysia’s Sabah state following three kidnappings by Muslim militants since June last year.

 
The warning, which took effect Wednesday, advises South Koreans to leave the region and refrain from traveling there.

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