Chinese man escapes South Korean Covid-19 quarantine facility, nabbed by police after 2 days

He was found at another hotel in Seoul.

Keyla Supharta | January 05, 2023, 06:10 PM

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A Chinese man who escaped a quarantine facility after testing positive for Covid-19 upon arriving in South Korea has been apprehended in Seoul on Thursday (Jan. 5), Yonhap News Agency reported.

Post-arrival PCR test is necessary

The 41-year-old Chinese man arrived in Seoul on Tuesday (Jan. 2) and was referred to a quarantine facility after testing positive for his compulsory post-arrival polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Taking and presenting a negative PCR test upon arrival is compulsory for all travellers arriving from China, a measure that was made effective by South Korea starting Jan. 2.

On the first day that the measures were implemented, 61 Chinese visitors tested positive for Covid-19 after taking the post-arrival PCR test.

As of Wednesday (Jan. 4), 239 out of 917 travellers from China tested positive for the virus, The Korea Times said.

The great escape

According to Yonhap, the Chinese man was placed in a hotel assigned as a quarantine facility 27km west of Seoul by the South Korean government on Yeongjongdo Island.

As per measures, foreigners who tested positive upon arrival have to be quarantined for seven days.

However, the man allegedly refused to enter the quarantine facility and ran away shortly after arriving at the quarantine facility.

Based on surveillance camera footage, he was last spotted near a supermarket about 300m away from the quarantine facility before they lost track of his whereabouts.

The arrest

South Korean police eventually captured the escapee on Thursday (Jan. 5), two days after he went missing, reported Reuters.

 "The person was found at a hotel in Seoul this afternoon," a police officer said.

He remained silent when asked by reporters why he ran away and why he came to South Korea.

He would be taken to a facility to spend his seven-day quarantine and could later be charged for violating quarantine laws under the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act.

If convicted, he could be liable for up to one year in prison or fined up to 10 million won (S$10, 544).

Yonhap said that police are planning to investigate the motive for his fleeing and his travel routes after his escape.

He is set to be deported and will not be able to enter South Korea for a stipulated time, senior health official Kim Joo-young said, according to The Korea Times.

Top Image via Jung Yeon-je/Getty Images