71 ‘unless you have permission to be somewhere, you’ll always be trespassinG. … with that said, the mantra in the urbex community is, “it’s always easier to ask For ForGiveness than permission.”’ joseph junG February 2012 / inside one of seoul’s luxury homes, which, along with the neighborhood, has since been demolished. august 2013 / sealed doors inside a multipurpose factory in hong kong. among other things, the factory also houses a prison, morgue and a mental asylum. september 2013 / looking down from the balcony of an auditorium of an abandoned university campus outside seoul. What are some of the similarities and differences you have noticed between the countries? New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong all have a pretty visible urbex scene, and even those who don’t enjoy the hobby can understand why some- one may want to photograph these abandoned places. Not so in Korea. There’s a sense of shame here when it comes to anything that doesn’t help market the country in a positive and vibrant light. What is the urbex community like in Korea? It’s mainly foreigners. There are people spread out across the peninsula, so we’ll post and share photographs of new places we find, but we don’t really meet up that much, except a few times a year like Chuseok or Seol- lal, which are prime times for exploring as half the city is empty. What are some of your best fnds in Korea? My favorite location was the local middle school out in the countryside where I taught my first year in Korea. I was alone out on this remote island itching to make the four-hour ride up to Seoul to explore something when I discovered there was an awesome abandoned school literally 10 minutes from me. I used to go down there every few months, and it was my own personal place for a while. Unfortunately, it has since been demolished. Another favorite location was a neighborhood in Seoul, which was slow- ly being demolished in parts. From the outside, many of the old smaller houses looked the same, but when I entered this one house, man, it really didn’t deserve to be gone. It exists only in a photograph now. How do you usually fnd these spots? I know some guys who hit the road on their bikes with their eyes peeled for possible new locations, but I personally scour around the web through both English and Korean sites as well as mapping street views. We also share reports and new locations amongst ourselves. You must come across a ton of weird stuff on your explorations. Can you share any stories? In Hong Kong, we went out exploring to what we assumed was just an abandoned factory. We walked up a few flights of stairs until we reached the first open floor and all the windows and exits were sealed up with vinyl sheets and tape. Naturally, we cut open the sheets with a key, and on each successive floor we found ourselves on, we found something com- pletely different. On one section we found rooms with padded walls and straitjackets. On another, a morgue, and at another, several prison cells. When we got to the basement we ventured through a hallway and another small space. As we were roaming around, several voices started shouting out at us so we bolted back. Unfortunately, two in our party were cornered by a giant guy with a screwdriver and they had to negotiate their way out. Are most of these sites you explore no trespassing zones? Unless you have permission to be somewhere, you’ll always be tres- passing. Even a crumbling house that has been vacant for many years still belongs to someone or some authority. With that said, the mantra in the urbex community is, “It’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” Do you have a favorite photograph that you’ve taken on an urbex mission? The picture of an underground ammunition magazine is probably one of my favorite pictures. As it’s a popular spot among a lot of graffiti artists, the art on the walls is constantly changing. Though it attracts a lot of pho- tographers, I like to think that there are no other pictures out there that show the tunnels exactly the same as I saw them that day I took the photo. MORE INfO Find out more about Jung’s adventures on his site Abandoned Korea, abandonedkorea.com. And while he probably won’t hand out the GPS coordinates of the spots he’s visited, he might point you in the right direction to find your own.