101 East

Dying to Deliver: Overworked in South Korea

We investigate the deadly price Korean delivery workers are paying for online shopping convenience.

Demand for home deliveries in South Korea has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a country with the longest working hours in the developed world, the packages keep piling up, and it is pushing delivery workers to the brink of their endurance. They are clocking up 16-hour days, and if they fall behind, they must pay late fees.

Since the pandemic began, 21 delivery drivers have died. Death by overwork is so common, there is even a term for it – Kwarosa.

101 East investigates why South Korea’s workers are dying to keep its delivery system running.