‘Seven out of 10 foreigners’ who had plastic surgery in South Korea last year were from China
Mainlanders flocking to Seoul for procedures, according to newspaper report, despite cases of highly publicised botched operations
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 May, 2015, 2:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 May, 2015, 3:31pm
Most plastic surgery clinics in Seoul actively welcome patients from China, according to the report. The authorities have cracked down on unlicensed clinics. Photo: SCMP Pictures
Seven out of every 10 foreigners who went to South Korea last year for cosmetic surgery came from China, according to a Chinese newspaper report.
Visitors from the mainland made 56,000 trips to South Korea for cosmetic procedures in 2014, the National Business Daily reported, citing figures from the Ministry of Health.
Dr Lee Chung Hun, an expert in hotel management and tourism at Sejong University in Seoul, was quoted as saying that each Chinese visitor spent on average over 10,000 yuan (HK$12,700) on cosmetic surgery in 2013.
The most popular procedure among Chinese visitors was injecting fillers into the skin to remove wrinkles, the report said.
There are several hundred clinics in Seoul and most have signs in Chinese welcoming visitors from the mainland.
South Korea received only 4,700 Chinese medical tourists in 2009, but that figure has since grown over ten fold, the report said.
The authorities launched a crackdown on unlicensed clinics in February after a 50-year-old woman from China was left in a coma the previous month after undergoing surgery.
The health ministry unveiled a raft of measures drafted in response to a growing number of complaints over botched jobs and exorbitant billing, many of them filed by Chinese who travel specifically to South Korea for cosmetic procedures.
“Because of inadequate information and the language barrier, there have been quite a few safety problems, which have affected the image of South Korea’s plastic surgery industry,” Dr Lee was quoted as saying in the newspaper report.
Another case to receive widespread publicity involved Jin Weikun, a young Chinese woman who took part in a television reality show in January to receive a facial and breast surgery in South Korea.
She said her face and nose had been disfigured and she is taking legal action.