• In accordance with Article 234 of the Customs Act, goods that fall under any of the following subparagraphs shall not be exported or imported:
    • Books, publications, drawings, records, films, videos, sculptures and other similar goods which disrupt the constitutional order, disturb the public safety and order, or corrupt public morals;
    • Goods which reveal confidential matters of the Government or are used to carry out intelligence activities;
    • Currencies, bonds and securities which are counterfeited, forged or copied.
      Guide for customs clearance process for adult goods

* In principle, the Korea Customs Service (KCS) withholds customs clearance of adult goods, such as sex toys, through Notification on the Clearance Management Measures (Clearance Facilitation bureau-1685, 2012.4.4). Only when a courthouse (including tax tribunal examiners and customs appeal committee) reaches a final decree (decision) that the goods do not corrupt public morals, then the goods and the ones identical to them (identical model, size, and foreign supplier (or manufacturer) are approved for customs clearance as exceptions.

  • Limits of customs of clearance to a few for a uniformed application of criteria
    • Incheon Airport (including Incheon Airport Air Mail and Gimpo Customs), Incheon and Pyeongtaek Customs.
  • Expansion of criteria for clearance of adult goods
    • Present criteria + decisions from the Clearance Appeal Committee of the customs of clearance
      • (Establishment) Goods the Clearance Appeal Committee of customs of clearance have decided to be similar to the ones courts made a final decree (decision) about
  • Establish the Clearance Appeal Committee of customs for adult goods
    • (Establishment) in Incheon Airport, Incheon Customs, and Pyeongtaek Customs;
      • Incheon Airport Airmail and Gimpo Customs are audited in Incheon Airport Customs.
    • (Organization) in consideration of each customs’ condition, such as promptness in convening, expenses for auditing, impartiality, and professionalism.
      • (Example): Autonomous decision on the composition ratio of internal/external members of the committee, overlapping of members in three Clearance Appeal Committees, etc.
    • (Responsibility) Carry out tasks that fall under each of the following subparagraphs
      • Evaluate the similarity between the products in interest and the products with the final decree (decision) made by law courts, and decide whether to approve the product’s clearance (includes pre-audit) prior to carrying-in upon a declarer’s request);
      • When necessary, request an examination of industrial goods’ quality and safety;
      • Establish a DB on cleared goods and share it among customs of clearance;
      • In principle, hold a committee meeting and make decisions within one month after an import declaration is filed;
      • Other administrative matters relevant to clearance of adult goods.
  • Establishing an adult goods DB with final decree (decision) and using the DB
    • Establish an adult goods management DB, which is referenced and decided by examiners and the like, so withholding customs clearance on identical adult product is not repeated.
    • Establish a DB and use it by categorizing adult goods with final decrees (decisions) by its appearance (form, color, etc.) and customs.

* Notes for consultation “Obscenity,” which serves as the standard in deciding whether the Prohibited items for import/export prescribed in the Customs Act, are closely related to social custom, public morals, culture, and protection of adolescents, which change through time. It is difficult to propose a uniform set of standards, and therefore, a comprehensive examination of the subject goods’ appearance, major function, and use of purpose should be taken into account in order to reach a decision.
For reference, two Supreme Court Precedents (year 2003 988,’03.5.16 and year 2002 2889,’02.8.23) ruled that “Chasey” represented female genital in an excessively obscene way, that based on social norm, just looking at the goods would motivate or excite the sexual appetite, damage general public’s sense of humiliation, and violate moral principles, therefore it ruled that that the relevant goods are considered to be obscene products.