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Last Updated: Friday, 15 April 2005, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
S Korean fails driving test 271 times
South Korean Hyundai Sonata
Seo Sang-moon is already trying to decide what car to buy
After five years and 271 attempts to pass the theoretical part of his driving test, it was 272nd time lucky for South Korean Seo Sang-moon.

Despite all his hard work Mr Seo is still not able to drive. Next he needs to pass the test's practical section.

"Driving seems a bit hard. But after trying 271 times to pass... what do I have to be afraid of?" he said.

The 69-year-old repairman said he was hampered by illiteracy, which meant he could not read a driving manual.

Mr Seo told the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo: "Being a repairman travelling around North Gyeongsang and Gangwon provinces, the drivers license was a necessity, but I did not dare apply for the written examination because I am illiterate."

"Only after 2000, with the introduction of the oral exam, was I able to apply," he said.

Mr Seo took the test as often as he could, paying more than 1m won ($1,000) in application fees.

Each time he learned a little bit more, until finally, earlier this week, he passed.

Officials at the test centre were just as happy as Mr Seo.

"He has been coming here for more than five years and we regard him almost as being one of the family," an official from the exam office told Reuters.

Mr Seo said he was already preparing for his road test at a driving school in Yeongju City.

"I am confident," he told the Chosun Ilbo. "I'm already discussing with my wife which car we should buy."


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