South Koreans has already got a bad reputation for their binge drinking. A latest survey shows that the rate of boozing has increased exceptionally high among them.
Between 2000 and 2004 the cost of problem boozing surged 35 percent to 20.1 trillion won (20.1 billion dollars), research financed by the health ministry said.
The loss amounts to 2.9 percent of South Korea's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), about two times higher than the comparable figures of other countries including Canada (1.09 percent), France (1.42 percent) and Scotland (1.19 percent), according to the study.
Other government statics showed the percentage of South Korean adults who drink at least once a week jumped to 43.6 percent in 2003 from 28.8 percent in 1999.
The estimated costs from excess alcohol include decreased productivity at work, treatment of drink-related health conditions and various alcohol-related accidents such as car crashes and fires.
South Koreans' after-work company outings, called hoishik or eating together, are centred on alcohol.
They usually start with Soju, vodka-like white liquor, over roasted pork.
They often continue boozing past midnight, entering a second round or a third round of drinking at karaoke bars or restaurants, drenching themselves with "Bombshells" -- cups of beer mixed with whiskey.