Since late April, Japanese immigration authorities have turned away 16 Britons in the lead up to the World Cup soccer finals, which began Friday in Seoul, according to a British police officer.

Ron Hogg, assistant chief constable with northern England’s Durham Constabulary, has been working with Japanese authorities on measures to prevent soccer hooligans from ruining the monthlong tournament in Japan and South Korea.

Hogg said eight of the 16 Britons were denied entry to the country due to drug records or other infringements of Japanese laws. A total of 324 people have been turned away since late April for similar reasons, he added.

The reasons for the deportation of the remaining eight is unknown, according to the British Embassy in Tokyo. One Briton has also been deported from South Korea, it added.

Some 1,030 people, including those with criminal records related to soccer violence, were prohibited from leaving Britain and ordered to surrender their passports in the leadup to the finals, Hogg said.

Over the past few days, a number of Britons have been refused entry into Japan and were later deported because their names were on a hooligan watch list, which was compiled based on information provided by foreign police.

British police officials say up to 8,000 fans from Britain are expected to come to Japan, and 7,000 of them have game tickets.

The soccer finals will run until June 30.

Soccer fans complain

LONDON (Kyodo) Three British soccer fans who traveled to Japan this week to watch the World Cup complained on Thursday of abusive Japanese police scrutiny and said they would not mind packing their bags and leaving the country.

The three Britons made their complaint in a radio interview from Tokyo with the BBC broadcasting network.

One soccer fan who traveled from Manchester said he was held for nine hours when he arrived at Narita airport on Tuesday, adding he was grilled at length by police about his past and about his friends.

He said he was followed by police after being allowed to enter the country and was repeatedly photographed by police.

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