Police are searching for seven athletes and a reporter who have gone missing from their Asian Games delegations and are thought to be looking for work illegally in South Korea.

Incheon police said they were looking for three athletes from Nepal, two from Sri Lanka and one each from Bangladesh and Palestine. A tv reporter from Pakistan is also missing.

The delegations reported the athletes missing to Incheon Asian Games organisers (IAGOC), who then informed the authorities, police told Reuters.

"We believe they've gone missing with the intention of finding work in South Korea," Incheon police said by telephone.

"There must be brokers or people they know who are helping them out. The immigration office has already gathered information and sources, so they are conducting the investigation and we are giving them support."

Police said the athletes' visas would expire on October 19 and that they would be treated as illegal aliens and deported if apprehended after that date.

Police had taken measures to try to prevent athletes trying to overstay their visas after the Incheon Games, which ended on Saturday.

"There were 16 athletes who went missing during the Busan Asian Games," police added. "We've been preparing to cooperate with the immigration office before the Games started."

Source: Agencies