What filing a police report in Seoul is REALLY like
With all these scandals and police reports being made like every other week in K-Land, I thought it would be fun to share my own experience with the Seoul police, and even a few tips in case you find yourself in a bit of trouble while visiting. Sorry I don't have photos to compliment the experience; it's not like I was sitting at the station like "Hey officer, let's take a selca together!!"
So if you follow me on Twitter, you know that earlier this year I was living in Seoul for a few months. My "incident" happened in Hongdae, where the drama Mary Stayed Out All Night took place. Now, my apartment was in Digital Media City (DMC), which is actually where some of the big entertainment companies like MBC and CJ&E are located. K-pop fans visiting Korea, if you plan on attending a taping of the music show M Countdown, you'll have to go to DMC.
Fated to Love You fans, the street where Kim Mi Young speaks to Gae Dong was filmed in DMC a block from where my apartment and the police station were located. Behind Mi Young's head is a plaza where the companies are.
So anyway, after the incident happened, I walked to the local police station near my apartment to report it, and to my surprise, not only did the inside of the station look just like Me Too, Flower's police station, but the officers were hot! Now, will your officers be hot? That I can't guarantee.
When it came to actually reporting the incident, my Korean was alright, but some of the officers knew just enough English to get what I was saying. So while I was there, not only did I tell the officers the details of the incident, but I also had to fill out a form with all my contact information. Everything took about two hours, and then when I thought it was over, I was told my case had to be transferred to another station!!!
Although I was reporting the incident at my local police station, where the incident actually took place technically fell in the district called Mapo-gu. So lucky me, two of the hot officers drove me to the Mapo police station, which was huge! Mind you, they drove me, which meant I was sitting in the back of a police car! While in the police car, I got to see the Han River for the first time during day-light, which was fun (don't ask).
Watch Lee Je Hoon bring the tragic true story of Crown Prince Sado to life in historical drama Secret Door
Fast forward to Mapo station: you walk into a lobby, get greeted by a guard, and then to the left through double doors was a huge room of cubicles where all the detectives worked! Now you guys, you need to be prepared. I promise you, your entire day will be spent at the police station giving your statement over and over. By the time you're done, you might as well stamp a time card because you just completed a whole shift.
I was sitting with the detective who was handling my case while three others were floating around jumping in and out of the conversation with random questions having to do with NYC and how my detective recently booked a trip to Europe...like really?! Anyway, don't worry about the language; like I said, a lot of the officers and detectives will know a bit of English, but you will be provided with an interpreter.
Once the interpreter arrives, both the detective and interpreter will go through your statement sentence by sentence writing everything down. Then when it's over, you and the interpreter will read through each page of your statement that has been printed out, and you will then have to stamp each and every page with your finger print. I stamped like 15 pages. It was all a blur by that point, so who knows how many pages it really was. Following that, you'll have to give prints of all 10 of your fingers on a card, which will now become your official police file! Congratulations, you're now forever in the Seoul police system; they got you!
It's extremely fun to talk about though. Not even my Korean friends have police files, so I'm like this totally awesome rebel in their eyes. Also, I got to eat traditional Korean treats at the station with the detectives because lucky me, my incident happened right before the Chinese New Year!
Quick Tips and Facts:
They will 100% bring up CCTV, but do not laugh even if every K-drama scene involving CCTV flashes through your mind.
It's likely that you will not leave the police station with a copy of your statement. They will hold on to it in the event that your case falls into the hands of a prosecutor.
If you're only using wifi during your stay, make sure to have the chat app Kakao Talk and Skype downloaded so that you can add and communicate with the detective/officer in charge of your case. You can make and receive calls on Kakao only with those on your friends list, but for important calls like to banks, etc. you will need Skype to call out.
Make sure before you go abroad anywhere, you make copies of your passport, I.D, and credit cards. In case you lose them or they're stolen, having copies will expedite the replacement process.
Most importantly, try really hard not to get into situations where you have to actually visit with the police. Be better than me. However...