Tight Security Ahead of Korea-China World Cup Qualifier

Charles Kim, March 22, 2017, 10:40 a.m.

Chinese police are everywhere around Korean visitors ahead of Thursday's qualifier for the 2018 FIFA World Cup between the two nations in Changsha.

The match comes at a time of heightened bad blood between the two countries over the stationing of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here.

At Seoul's request, China increased police personnel to protect Koreans. The Korean national football team are under heavy escort from the moment they step out of the hotel. Their bus and hotel are manned by the police, and so is the hotel for Korean media.

The Helong Stadium in Changsha where the match will be held has a capacity of 55,000, but the maximum number of away supporters will be a few hundred.

The rest are likely to be fervent Chinese fans -- top-price tickets for Thursday's match are around W200,000, but all were sold out (US$1=W1,121). the Chinese government therefore decided to mobilize over 8,000 police officers on the day.

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