SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korean police summoned an activist on Monday who stated they stole a whole lot of hundreds of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets from North Korea in defiance of a brand new regulation that criminalizes such actions.
Park Sang-hak’s interrogation got here hours after President Moon Jae-in, in a nationally televised speech, issued obvious criticism of Park with out naming him, claiming he was “by no means fascinating” to curb relations with the North by violating inter-Korean and South Korean legal guidelines.
Whereas South Korea has come underneath hearth for the anti-leaflet regulation, which some human rights activists see as an assault on democratic freedoms and efforts to interrupt the knowledge blockage within the North, Moon stated harassed that his authorities had “no alternative however to strictly implement the legal guidelines”.
Police searched Park’s workplace final week after asserting that his group had thrown balloons containing 500,000 leaflets, 5,000 greenback payments and 500 brochures on South Korea’s financial riches throughout the border from South Korea. April 25 to 29.
If confirmed, Park’s motion can be the primary identified violation of the regulation, which went into impact in March and punishes anti-Pyongyang leaflets with as much as three years in jail or a fantastic of 30 million gained ( $ 27,000).
Seoul Metropolitan Police officers didn’t instantly affirm particulars of the interrogation or whether or not they had been pushing for Park’s arrest.
Park stated his actions had been aimed toward educating North Koreans in regards to the harsh realities of the authoritarian regime in Pyongyang and claimed that different activists would proceed to throw leaflets throughout the border even when he went to jail.
North Korea is extraordinarily delicate to exterior criticism of its management, and Park’s announcement has drawn vitriol from Kim Yo Jong, the highly effective sister of North Korean chief Kim Jong Un who manages inter-Korean affairs. She stated in an announcement issued by state media that the publication of the leaflets was an “insupportable provocation” and that her authorities would think about the corresponding measures. In 2014, North Korean troopers on the border fired at balloons flying in direction of its territory, prompting South Korean troops to retaliate.
Seoul’s anti-flyer regulation was hotly debated in a videoconference listening to convened by US lawmakers final month, the place US Consultant Chris Smith of New Jersey accused Seoul of withdrawing from its “long-standing engagement in in favor of human rights vis-à-vis North Korea and China. , apparently with the intention to foster higher relations or to realize nuclear non-proliferation. “
South Korean lawyer Jeon Sumi, who was among the many panelists defending the regulation, insisted the leaflets needlessly provoke the North and endanger the security of South Koreans residing in border areas.