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Chinese travellers’ idyllic South Korean island trip turns into holiday hell as they are deported

A Chinese woman and her mother expecting an idyllic National Day package holiday to the beautiful South Korean volcanic island resort of Jeju ended up held in detention for 24 hours – and then deported, mainland media reports.

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South Korean officials repatriated the tourists because they could not take a connecting flight from Daegu International Airport on Sunday because they were travelling without a tour guide, The Beijing News reported.

The two were listed as individual travellers by South Korean authorities even though they had been booked on a five-day package holiday to Jeju by the daughter’s husband, surnamed Guo, on the travel booking website, Tuniu.com.

But they found there was no tour guide assigned to them and that instead of having direct flight from Beijing to Jeju, they had been booked on indirect flights landing at Daegu International Airport, the report said.

Chinese tourists need visas if they take connecting flights from Daegu International Airport while travelling individually, the report said.

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On their arrival, they were held in detention in a small, darkened room, containing camp beds, for 24 hours and then deported.

Guo told the newspaper he had booked his wife and mother-in-law on a package tour, and that their travel itinerary had stated they would be on a direct flight to Jeju.

He said he was angry about the mix-up because his mother-in-law, who is in her 50s, was not in good health.

A spokesman for the travel website said the matter was a rare incident and that it would refund the full cost of the holiday and also offer a compensation payment. The compensation amount is now being discussed, the report said.