Saturday, June 22, 2013

Shame On You, Incheon Airport Customs!

This is a photo of our dear friend, Hellena (Hye-Ok) with our grandson, Ezra when she visited us last year. She is a head flight attendant for Qatar Airlines and gets to fly all over the world for her job. She is the kindest and most generous person I have ever met. She always, always puts other's needs before hers which drives me crazy at times but Rocketman and I love her dearly and she will always be a part of our family.

She contacted us yesterday more upset that we had ever seen her. She had a couple days off and had flown to Korea for a vacation, something she had done many times since becoming a flight attendant in 2009. She has been in so many airports all over the world and knows what to expect getting through immigration and customs - until this weekend.

She arrived in Korea and made her way through immigration only to be stopped in customs.  And why was she detained? It was because of her Prada purse. The purse she had bought in Italy at an outlet Prada store last year. It was her pride and joy. She loved that purse. They told her that she didn't claim the purse, the very purse she had been using for a year. She told them that yes indeed she had claimed it last year when she purchased it.

A couple of immigration workers nodded to let her pass except for one who then took her into a room and for THREE hours grilled her about this damn purse. She broke down crying and begging that he not take the purse.  Well, not only did he take her purse (after she emptied the contents), he fined her $200.

This was NOT a brand new purse with the tags. This was not a purse hidden in her luggage. This was not one of 10 purses she was trying to sneak into Korea. This was a girl who had worked hard, saved her money and bought her dream purse, a Prada.

She told us that this time of year is a bad time to have a Prada or Chanel purse. She has heard that Koreans go to Europe and buy these purses to bring back to Korea. That may or may not be but that was not the case in this instant.

She was finally allowed to leave $200 poorer and without her Prada purse. Right now, I'm not very happy with South Korea. Would they have done this to Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian? I think not but then that is because they are foreigners. I just can't believe South Korea would treat their our citizens so poorly.

Shame on you Incheon Airport Customs!


  1. That's horrible! I would suggest that if she ever bought another Prada and did go through customs that she keep the paperwork in the purse so they can't take it away again.

  2. That's It's even hard to believe. She wouldn't have been wearing it in plain view if she were hiding something. Terrible.

  3. Sarah, one of my Facebook friends was at Incheon recently and actually saw it happening. Women with expensive purses were sent to a secondary screening. She said the purses are taken and resold. It's disgusting. Incheon Airport has enough problems as far as I'm concerned with the shady taxi drivers.

  4. This is such a sad story, and I suppose there is nothing she can do about it. Ezra has grown so fast! lol Trying to leave here on a happy note! Happy summer Becky :)

  5. What's even more ridiculous is that shopping is Europe is cheaper than shopping in Korea. Customs is like any other part of the Korean government; poorly run, rife with corruption, and overall ineffective.


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