Psy style for tourist police

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Seoul Tourist PoliceWhen Korean pop star Psy burst onto the international stage with "Gangnam Style" in late 2012, for many Westerners, it was the first time they had heard of K-pop or the affluent Seoul neighborhood the song takes its title from.

The subsequent stir of interest in both Psy and his musical genre have had a significant impact on the South Korean capital.

Not only did it lead to an influx of visitors keen to learn about this cosmopolitan Korean lifestyle, but it inspired the city to launch a 100-strong tourist police force at the end of last year, sporting outfits designed by Kim Seo-ryong, the K-pop star's stylist.

The Psy-styled law enforcers now patrol the city's major tourist areas, maintaining law and order, defending visitors from getting ripped off by shopkeepers and taxi drivers and offering general assistance in English, Japanese and Mandarin.

Posing for the occasional photo is also within their remit, with the officers expected to become tourist attractions in their own right.

Initial feedback has been positive, with overall tourist satisfaction expected to rise thanks to the intiative, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.

"The tourist police will continue to carry out their enforcement duties all year round by ensuring tourists receive fair and transparent services," it said. See http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/GK/GK_EN_2_7_10.jsp.

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