Jjimjilbangs are Korean saunas that will let you stay the night at a very cheap price (usually a little more than 10,000 won a night). They’re great options if you’re traveling throughout Korea and just need a cheap place to shower and sleep for a single night. (We highlighted this in our post: Where to Stay in Seoul for Less Than $50 USD a Night.)
And even though Korea is generally pretty safe, jjimjilbang are known to be places where many thefts happen. The criminals are usually in their teens, and their target of choice are smartphones since they can be sold for high prices. Funny thing is, they rely on your own smartphone addiction for the perfect opportunity to strike!
If you’re one of those people that like to play a few games of Plants vs Zombies or surf Facebook before you go to sleep, you might doze off with smartphone in hand. And that’s exactly when they’ll come to strike. While you’re sleeping, thieves have been known to snatch up smartphones from sleeping patrons. Apparently it’s become enough of a problem that patrons have been given fishing lines to attach to their phones and wrists in attempts to catch these criminals (source).
We’re not so sure about the fishing lines, but we think the safest way to protect your mobile Facebook addiction is to keep your smartphone in your locker (these thefts usually don’t occur with locker break ins).
Although Korea is very safe, and even thefts outside in public aren’t common, this is one crime you should be aware of. Find out some other things you should watch out for here: