A group of 46 Vietnamese visiting South Korea for holiday have disappeared from the resort island of Jeju, allegedly to look for jobs, local media reported Friday, citing authorities.
The missing tourists are among a group of 155 Vietnamese who have visited the island since Tuesday for a six-day trip.
Ten others who attempted to flee earlier this week have been caught and are under investigation, said an announcement from the local immigration office.
The office said it is investigating if they were trying to look for illegal employment in South Korea.
"If they go outside the province, they will be charged with violating the Special Act on the Establishment of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and the Development of a Free International City," an official from the office told Yonhap. "If they are caught over illegal employment, they will be charged with the violation of immigration control law."
Police and the Coast Guard said they have stepped up inspections to prevent the missing Vietnamese from fleeing to other provinces.
All tourists are allowed to enter and stay on the resort island without a visa for up to 30 days, except for nationals from terrorism-linked countries.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization, around 170,000 Vietnamese tourists visited the country in 2015, a 20 percent increase compared to 2014.
A representative of a tourism company in Ho Chi Minh City told Tuoi Tre that there were several cases of “mysterious disappearances” of Vietnamese tourists in South Korea in the past, but most were recorded in Seoul.
The representative said that even if a tourist successfully manages to overstay on the island, he or she cannot get into the mainland without a visa and will be finally caught.