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USFK members, foreigners hold no-mask parties on Busan beach amid pandemic

All News 13:57 May 30, 2021

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- Around 2,000 foreigners, including U.S. soldiers in South Korea, set off firecrackers and held parties without wearing masks on and around a local beach amid the coronavirus pandemic, police said Sunday.

The foreigners danced, drank and set off firecrackers on and around Haeundae Beach in the southern city of Busan from Saturday afternoon through early Sunday, with many of them not wearing face masks and violating social distancing rules, according to the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency and witnesses.

They appear to have visited the region to mark U.S. Memorial Day.

Police received at least 38 reports of complaints from local residents overnight, who voiced concerns over such dangerous acts amid COVID-19 and grumbled over the noise and other disturbances.

Dozens of police officers were dispatched to the scene, but they were unable to completely stop them, according to the agency and witnesses.

South Korea is still struggling to stem the continued spread of the new coronavirus across the country and is enforcing strict antivirus schemes. Currently, the greater Seoul area is under Level 2 social distancing, the third highest in the five-tier scheme, and Busan and most of the remaining regions of the country are subject to Level 1.5 distancing.

On Saturday and Sunday, the country reported 533 and 480 more COVID-19 cases, respectively, raising the total caseload to 139,910, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

Police and local government officials vowed to toughen the crackdown on any illegal activities.

U.S. service members and other foreigners have caused trouble by holding parties in violation of antivirus schemes. Last year, dozens threw no-mask parties on Haeundae Beach in celebration of U.S. Independence Day in the midst of the new coronavirus.

This photo uploaded on a social network service account on May 29, 2021, shows Haeundae Beach crowded with visitors. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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