An American tourist in Seoul said he sprayed graffiti in 155 places to raise awareness about teeth grinding

An American tourist in Seoul said he sprayed graffiti in 155 places to raise awareness about teeth grinding
Pedestrians walk up an alleyway in Seoul late October 28, 2023.ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images
  • A US tourist in South Korea was accused of vandalizing 155 places in Seoul.
  • He's accused of spray-painting the words "bruxism" or "brux" on storefronts and gates.

An American tourist has been accused of spraying graffiti at 155 locations in Seoul's central Yongsan district, police said on Monday.

The Yongsan police department said it arrested an unnamed American man in his 30s who arrived in October as a tourist, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

The US citizen, detained on Saturday, has been charged with damaging both private and public property, including underpasses, trash cans, roads, electric poles, house gates, and store shutters, Chosun Ilbo reported.

He would graffiti the words "bruxism" or "brux" in English or Korean, and was identified and caught by police through surveillance cameras, per the outlet.

According to Yonhap, police said the arrested tourist claimed he was trying to spread awareness of bruxism, or a condition when people unconsciously grind or clench their teeth tightly.


Police are still investigating what his exact motives and actions were, per Yonhap.

The unnamed American told police that he suffers from severe bruxism, and wanted to let others know it can be a serious condition, the Seoul Shinmun Daily reported.

Police said they received complaints about the graffiti starting on October 25, and launched a search for the culprit, per the outlet.

An Instagram account with no followers, using the handle @bruxism.hunter, appeared to have kept track of dozens of the man's graffiti writings since late October.

The owner posted photos of the graffiti on walls, along stairwells, on road barriers, and storefronts.


The account's description said it was receiving reports of the writings. Business Insider could not independently verify who runs the graffiti-tracking account.

Meanwhile, Yonhap reported that the US tourist has been banned from leaving South Korea.

Yongsan is one of Seoul's most popular districts for tourists, and is home to the Itaewon commercial neighborhood, where a crowd crush killed more than 150 people last year during Halloween.