Arrival of refugees has sparked debate about country’s role in accepting asylum seekers

Hamza al-Odaini had two paths before him after he graduated from secondary school in Yemen: be forced to pick up a gun and fight in the civil war now in its fourth year, or flee the country.

In the end, his mother decided for him, sending the 17-year-old on a journey through Oman and Malaysia, before he landed on the South Korean resort island of Jeju. He hoped to study to become an engineer, but in the two months since he arrived there has been a rude awakening.

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