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Subject  [KOREA HERALD NEWS] More illegals nabbed this year
Name  HiKorea
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More illegals nabbed this year

More illegal foreign residents have been captured this year, data from the Justice Ministry showed yesterday.

The increase in the number of captured illegal aliens was partially attributable to the Lee Myung-bak administration's toughened measures, a ministry official said.

The increase comes amid Lee's repeated calls to establish law and order, which he said is a key principle in managing state affairs.

Until July, a total of 18,412 illegal aliens had been caught by immigration authorities, according to the data. Of them, 14,368 foreigners were deported.

The data was handed in to and disclosed by lawmakers Park Young-sun and Woo Yoon-keun of the main opposition Democratic Party, ahead of the October parliamentary inquiry.

A total of 23,771 illegal expatriates were captured in 2006 and 22,546 were caught last year. Experts estimate that the number this year will far exceed those.
"In March, during the ministry's policy briefing, President Lee commented on stiffening measures against illegal expatriates," said the ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We felt quite restricted in leading our efforts to capture illegal aliens following the fire last year at a foreigner protection center," the official said, referring to the arson fire last February at the immigration office in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, which left 10 foreigners dead from the inhalation of toxic gases.

"In 2006, our work was not that active due to assertive human rights activists. This year, however, we have smoothly led the efforts, which may have helped capture more illegal residents."

Among those captured, the greatest number worked in the manufacturing industry with 6,549, followed by those in the catering and accommodation industries (843) and those in the construction industry (278).

A total of 5,306 were captured in Seoul, while 3,723 were caught in Incheon, 2,415 in Suwon, 2,023 in Uijeongbu, 1,538 in Busan and 775 in Daegu.

The authorities conducted a nationwide clampdown on illegal aliens between May and July, and have operated a special taskforce dedicated to reducing their numbers since August.

The ministry recently announced its plan to decrease the number to 200,000 by the end of this year, and reduce the proportion of illegal foreigners to 10 percent.
As of Aug. 31, the number of foreigners residing here was 1,133,874, including 253,549 short-term foreign residents. Of them, the illegal residents totaled 222,859, accounting for 19.7 percent of the total foreign residents. This is a 3.1 percent decrease from a year ago.

By Song Sang-ho (



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