South Korea’s new “tourist police” force was introduced on Wednesday wearing bright blue uniforms designed by pop singer Psy’s costume designer.
The tourist police protect tourists from being ripped off in the South Korean Capital of Seoul. Despite being cops, the officers are more like mobile tourist guides. It’s made up of 100 young men and women who each speak a wide range of languages including English, Japanese and Mandarin. The language each officer speaks is designated by a badge on their uniform.
The tourist police are unarmed and will summon regular police in the event of serious crime.
“Those who think they were overcharged by taxi drivers or street food vendors can come and talk to us. We will help settle the problem,” Park Jae-Hyoung, an English-speaking recruit, told AFP.
“The tourist police wasn’t created because this country is unsafe,” cautioned Lee Charm, president of the Korea Tourism Organization.
“You are ambassadors who promote how safe this country is,” he told the receuits. “From now on, you guys will be very busy having pictures taken with tourists.”
Psy’s “Gangnam Style” was played to kick off the launch Wednesday while a police drill unit performed his signature horse-riding dance.
Tourism in South Korea is on the rise. In 2012, the country saw more than 10 million visitors, due in part to the popularity of Psy’s song.