"What is the second largest city in South Korea ?’’ This question seems likely to be made for elementary school students. But it is an example of questions that South Koreans, who travel from Russia to Finland, have to answer to Finnish border guards.
"The purpose of this written test is to single out forged passport holders as there are many people who attempt to enter Finland with counterfeit South Korean passports,’’ an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul told The Korea Times Tuesday.
The Finnish authorities began to administer the test last year, the Chosun Ilbo reported on Tuesday.
"I can’t remember the exact timing of it, but a number of Chinese people were recently arrested in Finland for holding bogus South Korean passports and they were eventually expelled,’’ the official said on a condition of anonymity.
He said that a stolen South Korean passport is traded at more than $3,000 in foreign countries as it .......
....... guarantees a relatively easy entry to the EU countries.
"Chinese criminal gangs used to steal South Korean passports and forge them,’’ the official said. "Till now, our passports were a little bit easier to counterfeit. But the situation will change in the near future as we are preparing for a new type of passport that is very difficult to forge.’’
Estonia, which borders Russia, is the first among the Baltic states to introduce such a written test for South Koreans in 2002, the vernacular daily reported.
"In the past, I saw the questionnaires made by the Estonian government,’’ he said. "For example, they asked the name of the sport Sun Dong-yeol plays and the name of our national anthem. It was funny.’’
What if a South Korean passenger in the Finnish border fails to jot down the name of the second largest city ? No problem, if the passport is genuine. There are 19 more questions such as "what is the name of the South Korean president ?’’