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Wednesday,August 21,2019
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Police: For the People or Against the People?
The police is said to trample down the lowest resistance of the citizens, which became a hot potato in Korea society.
On April 10, riot police used excessive force against the lawful protests of Daewoo Motor workers near Daewoo Motor's main plant in Inchon. The incident left about 20 people seriously injured. At that time, moreover, the police used very dangerous "rubber bullets"?against the demonstrators. There are also complaints about random tracing of citizens' bank accounts.
On April 25, President Kim Dae-jung invited 250 low-level police officers as well as Lee Moo-young, commissioner-general of the National Police Agency, to a luncheon at Chong Wa Dae. During the meeting with the policemen, President Kim asked the police to perform their duties in a legal way and to respect people's human rights.
A series of measures taken by police made people angry at the government even though President Kim is determined to punish the police over the brutal crackdown around the Deawoo plant. "Police use unreasonable sanctions against the activities of civic groups including labor unions," a union leader said.
A few months ago, police listened in on private conversations of a labor union's executive member by using a wiretap. On May 1, policemen watched over a May Day rally in Jeonju City by disguising themselves as spectators among the crowd. Police are even interrupting lawful one-man demonstrations.
On June 5, 3,600 riot policemen violently suppressed Hyosung Corp. union members who were on strike from May 25 and were illegally occupying their Ulsan factory. And 86 union members and their families were taken to the police station and lots of members were injured.
People, including Netizens, are very angry once again at the illegal and violent behavior of police, and mistrust of the National Police Agency is growing. Dozens of Netizens?opinions protesting police brutality are posted every day on the bulletin board of the National Police Agency website (http://www.police.go.kr).
It is very disturbing that the police, who should enforce the law and defend the rights of people, break the law and use violence to put down the rights of citizens. The police must start to listen carefully to what people are saying about them.

Kim Dong-ho  dgudp@dongguk.edu

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