Complaints from Korean travelers using LAX are piling up. An increasing number of travelers are alleging that they have been sexually harassed at the security checkpoint prior to boarding their respective flights. One Korean female traveler even alleged that some U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees are abusing their authority to abuse the travelers.
A 30-year-old Korean travel blogger, only identified by her initial A, passed through the security check without an issue at LAX recently. As she was trying to grab her bag from the belt, a CBP employee allegedly grabbed her hand abruptly.
“He grabbed my hand and smiled,” A said. “He just said hello and smiled as he was grabbing my hand. I was too nervous to say anything, but his intentions were clear. It was really unpleasant.”
Another traveler, a 23-year-old woman only identified by her initial B, was asked an awkward question at the immigration checkpoint after arriving from Korea for her week-long travel across the West Coast.
“He looked through my passport and asked if I have a boyfriend,” B said. “When I said no, he asked, ‘How do you like me?’ Then he pointed his co-worker and asked who’s more handsome. He only stopped when the other employee questioned his behavior.”
Legal advisers say that such a case could even lead to filing a lawsuit. The best way for the alleged victims to do so is by writing down the name of the employee, the number of the checkpoint and date and time of the incident, and then submitting a complaint to the CBP office on the third floor of the LAX’s international airport.
“Some unqualified employees are resorting to bad behaviors as they realize that they have the right to admit or reject foreigners entering the country,” said immigration lawyer Jonathan Park. “I heard that one middle aged Korean woman was harassed one time and asked the security if he even does that to his mother. People should complain immediately if they feel that they’ve been harassed.”
Meanwhile, the South Korean consulate office in Los Angeles is compiling a list of alleged harassment cases at LAX. “Our citizens must not have their rights abused or be treated unfairly. We will compile the list of cases and complain strongly to CBP,” said L.A.’s Korean consul general Key-chol Lee.
By Hyoungjae Kim