A sign at Seoul’s Dongdaemun Market reads: “Please do not throw your garbage here. This is a mailbox, not a trash bin.”
Similar signs, written in simplified Chinese characters, can be seen in tourist attractions all over the South Korean capital.
They are apparently intended for Chinese tourists, who have flooded the city in recent years, lured by the country’s world-famous pop culture. Their favorite spots include the Dongdaemun Market and Myeongdong shopping districts.
South Korea expects to welcome 16.2 million foreign tourists this year, of which 7.94 million or 49 percent are coming from China, up 28 percent from 2014, Apple Daily reported, citing data from the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute.
Although retailers and other business operators are happy to serve big-spending Chinese tourists, many are at a loss when they see tourists who treat mailboxes as trash bins, some which accumulate as much as 10 kilograms of garbage a week.
Chosun IIbo ran a story over the weekend complaining about Chinese tourists who “habitually” use mailboxes as receptacles for their garbage, which includes cigarette stubs, orange peels, bamboo skewers and pumpkin seed shells.
On Chinese social media, many netizens denounce such behavior by their compatriots visiting foreign cities as “a shame”.
It is possible, said the Global Times, that Chinese tourists throw their waste in mailboxes because they look like regular trash bins. Besides, there’s the language barrier, it says.
The tabloid advised tourists to dispose of their garbage in the proper receptacle, or carry it with them until they find one.
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