Some disturbing news from abroad... In Greece, police are apparently now hell-bent on apprehending undocumented immigrants, launching a new operation to check the papers of people who look "foreign." Yup, that means they're rounding up everybody who's anything other than a shade of white.
But when you indiscriminately start checking the papers of everybody who looks different, the cops are inevitably going to nab legitimate visitors in their sweeps, including a South Korean tourist who was beaten in an incident over his identification: The tourists held by Greek police as illegal migrants.
This incident involving Korean backpacker Hyun Young Jung went down several months ago, and has since escalated into a major international incident and huge PR fail for Greece:
When Korean backpacker Hyun Young Jung was stopped by a tall scruffy looking man speaking Greek on the street in central Athens he thought it might be some kind of scam, so he dismissed the man politely and continued on his way.Jung was handcuffed and taken to the nearest police station, where he was struck several more times. He was eventually released from police custody without any charges, but the case has since turned into a full-scale diplomatic incident between Korean and Greek officials.
A few moments later he was stopped again, this time by a man in uniform who asked for his documents. But as a hardened traveller he was cautious.
Greece was the 16th stop in his two-year-long round-the-world trip and he'd often been warned about people dressing in fake uniforms to extract money from backpackers, so while he handed over his passport he also asked the man to show him his police ID.
Instead, Jung says, he received a punch in the face.
Within seconds, the uniformed man and his plainclothes partner - the man who had first approached Jung - had him down on the ground and were kicking him, according to the Korean.
In shock, Jung was by now convinced he was being mugged by criminals and began shouting for help from passers-by.
"I was very scared," he says.
It sounds like the cops involved just needed an excuse to the beat crap out of a foreign-looking guy, and Hyun Young Jung was their man. Remind me not to travel to Greece anytime soon. Then again, who am I kidding -- it's not like this couldn't happen right here in the United States.