Chejudo: Arrests 2012-04-06
Human rights are in great danger:
Letters by now imprisoned Dr. Song Kang-Ho and Mr. Lim Ho-Young who were violently arrested on March 29 and April 1 each
In the people's news conference on April 5, 2012, people pointed out that:
Like the main land policemen 64 years ago who led the massacre of the Island people on April 3rd, the Seogwipo police that have been led by Lee Dong-Min who came from the main land have made a record of accidents in a month since his inauguration, which is more than the whole numbers of illegal and unjust police behavior in Gangjeong village in the past." ( # Lee Dong-Min, the new police chief of the Seogwipo police station is also the one who allowed the navy to blast the Gureombi rock coast. The Seogwipo Police Station is under the Jeju Police Provincial Agency http://www.jjpolice.go.kr/jjpolice/_language/eng/index.php)
"Since the start of the blasting the Gureombi Rock on March 7, more than 90 people were arrested while 20 people swooned were carried in ambulance. We are living days like being slaughtered dogs and pigs."
The numbers of 90 within less than a month are compared to 164, in the whole last year.
On April 5 and 6, Cho Hyun-Oh, the chief of Korea National Police Agency (http://www.police.go.kr/eng/index.jsp) and close person to President Lee Myung-Bak visits Jeju.
Please spread this, especially to the human rights organizations.
You may also write protest letters to the address on which you can find at:
1. Dr. Song Kang Ho's Handwritten Statement Regarding his Violent Arrest
on April 1st, 2012
On April 1, which was his birthday, too, Dr. Song Kang Ho, leader of sea protest team 'Save Our Sea' (SOS) at Gangjeong village, was violently arrested when he entered the Gureombi Rock coast with others, crossing the razor wire. The day was part of commemorating the 64th anniversary of 4.3 massacre and people's uprising (1948). When he resisted against his arrest, his 3 front teeth were broken, and 1 back tooth (in latter case, there is a possibility that it had been damaged before). Even though he was wearing a thick swimsuit, his chin was injured because of the police harassment and violence upon him (see below). He was carried by a navy jeep (which is illegal) from the coast and taken by police. He had to get stitched under the chin in the hospital. But the police carried him to the police station despite his lawyers' protest. On April 3, the very commemorating day of 4.3 massacre, the court made decision to imprison him. On April 5, Mr. Kim Dong-Won, a young SOS activist who has been imprisoned himself for 94 days last year, deplored that the police blocked people to watch and record his violent arrest that day. Kim also deplored when we came to the stage that we cannot watch police violence done to a man isolated from his friends, who appealed the world to watch this.
(Translated from Korean: Korean version, thanks to Dora, is available at: http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/Qw8x/15)
On April 1st, at around 2 p.m., I was on Gureombi Rock coast to protest against the heavy construction equipment that is destroying Gureombi Rock. From outside the razor-wire fence on the western side of Gureombi, I was shouting, "Don't Destroy Gureombi!" and "Stop Construction!" and "Stop!"
In that place, I was not alone but together with Priest Mun Jeong-Hyeon, Priest Kim Sung-Hwan, and [former Jeju Assembly woman] Hyun Ae-Ja, venting our pent up anger. Despite our protests, about 10 meters inside the fence, two huge hydraulic excavators were breaking rock and loading the broken rock into a dump truck. I felt deep despair because even though we yelled and shouted, the construction workers didn't listen. Because of my despair, without knowing what I was doing, I found myself grabbing the fence, pulling it down to the ground, and stepping across it, wanting to shout at them near the excavators. In front of me, around 30 riot police blocked the way with their shields and their captain sneered mockingly. As soon as I crossed the fence, I was surrounded and isolated. When I tried to resist, the police beat me, pushed me to the ground and held me down with their feet. They twisted my left hand and pinned it behind my back. One police officer painfully jabbed his finger into my ear. The ground was covered with sharp, broken rocks but their feet pushed my feet forcefully downward. While they carried me, my head hit the rocks on the ground two or three times.
Around 2:30, I was delivered to a naval jeep and transferred to the Naval base office gate. There, a police car was standing by. Around 100 police officers made a big wall and blocked the villagers and activists who came to protest, making a space for the police to move me into the police car. I thought that my arrest was unjust, so I resisted being put in the car. During that time, the police tried to force me into the car. While doing so, my body was turned upside down at the open car door and my upper body fell to the ground and under the car. Because of this, I tried to hold anything that I could grab causing my upper body to be pulled underneath the car. Several police officers pulled my legs but my head became stuck between the car and the asphalt ground. I yelled that my head was stuck, but the police officers were not concerned, and pulled my legs more strongly. From the left side of my chin to the middle of my chin my neck was stuck on some metal structure underneath the car.
My lower body continued being pulled by several people and because of the pressure on my neck, I couldn't speak anymore, only groan furiously. As the police pulled my body more strongly, the edge of my teeth began to crack. I could feel and chew tiny sand-like grains of tooth inside my mouth. I heard the bones in my neck popping and became afraid that my head was separating from my body. To protect myself from dying or at least protect my head from separating from my neck bones, I frantically tried to escape to my left. During this whole time, the police just continuously pulled my legs and several times some of the police officers even pulled my genitals. I couldn't see their faces but I could hear their mocking laughter. Behind me, I heard Priest Kim Sung Hwan protesting their cruel treatment towards me. After 5-10 minutes of fear and pain, I pulled myself towards the left with all of my strength, to release my chin from the metal structure where it was stuck. I could barely release my neck and then police pulled me out.
After the police put me into the police car, I spit out my broken teeth, which the police complained about. Behind the driver's seat, one police officer with the last name of "Goh", punched me with his fist. I felt pain from his fist on the left side of my stomach.
After that, in the Seogwipo Police Station, I appealed about the pain in my chin, neck, right shoulder, and back. I was lying down at that time and asked them to borrow a cell phone to make a phone call. However, they derided me saying that since I was lying down, I must just be sleepy, so I should just sleep. After giving this answer they disappeared. I had requested that they call 119 [Korean emergency medical number] but they didn't call for 30 minutes.
I am filing a lawsuit with the Korean National Human Rights Commission against the police officers who arrested me. I request legal punishment and penalties for the police officers who treated me in an unreasonable way, so that the police will no longer trample on people's human rights, threaten people's lives, and disrespect people's bodies.
April 2, 2012
Song Kang Ho
(Translated by Park Hee-Eun. Thanks to Paco Booya for proofreading)
On April 5, 2012, the villagers had a news conference denouncing the police violence and deploring that the suppression of Island people from the mainland and foreign powers in the 4.3 massacre period is still being continued even 64 years later.
The scene of arrest of Dr. Song Kang-Ho can be seen in the below video (time code, around 2:25 to 2:43): http://youtu.be/i8gfrfAXauY
Dr. Song Kang-Ho's letter on April 2 (photo by Dora) and his injured chin on April 1 (photo by Emily Wang)
2. Lim Ho-Young's letter on violent arrest on and arbitrary charge against him (April 2, 2012)On March 29, Lim Ho-Young, media team leader of Gangjeong village, was arrested under the charge of 'obstruction on government affairs' while he protested against police who ordered unidentified civilian-costumed men to take camera shots of people, which is illegal. During the arrest, he was kicked in the knee and hit in the face with camera, bleeding on his forehead. On April 2, Wooki Lee has visited Lim currently being held at the prison in the Jeju Dongbu Police Station. On that day the court made decision to imprison Lim and he was moved to the prison on April 5. The following is a transcript of the handwritten letter Lee received from Lim on April 2.
I'm doing all right. They've issued a warrant for my arrest today and for some reason, I feel all the more composed for it. Even as I was being arrested two days ago, I didn't think anything too serious would happen. But once the police investigation began, I realized that the authorities had plenty of charges already prepared for me.
I'm beginning to come to terms with the actions of the Navy and local police, since I must have been quite the nuisance for them all this time. The police have assessed my charges as having "deliberately caused aggression with the police by recording video footage, manipulating this footage in a malicious way, and spreading this distorted information to the public by posting it online."
I couldn't help but laugh for a while on this note. Is this really how far Korea's police intelligence has declined? I'm sorry to disappoint, but I don't possess any video-editing skills. And I have no memory of posting any footage of conflict with the police online. Furthermore, I haven't had the time to post any kind of footage online since late last year. All I can think of relating to footage would be the few instances in which I provided on-site footage to Dungree.
If this is what the police have reduced me to, what more could I possibly expect from them? Even at a stretch, no more than 30% of their claims against me are true. I'm sure most of these charges will be cleared in court, but nevertheless I have been arrested and must prove myself before a judge. I've been placed in a dire situation in which I cannot gather enough information and evidence to prove my case. This is an unjust treatment by the face of justice itself, to say the least.
How the Navy has handled the matter is even more appalling. On March 8th, a scuffle broke out with Navy soldiers by the main gate of the naval base. Captain Tae-yang Lee of the Korean Navy has falsely testified that I assaulted him during this incident, hitting him with my fist once on the face, and twice with my camera. That bastard! Tae-yang Lee is the one who assaulted Dr. Kang-ho Song on June 20th last year, kicking him over ten times when he climbed up a barge. And on March 8th, he just started to attack me the moment he saw me, hitting me on the face with his fist despite the fact that I had glasses on. He eventually broke my glasses and the lens fell out. I was indeed furious at his irrational behavior, which led me to thump him a few times on the head with my right hand, the hand that had been holding my camera. I did not hit him with much force, let alone downright assail him as he had done to me and Dr. Song. Why is it that every single time, the Navy refuses to acknowledge their own mistakes and claims that they were the ones getting assaulted?
Captain Lee also testified that I damaged federal property by tearing off a large part of the fence surrounding the naval base. It's a steel-plated fence that sits two meters high, which they claim originally cost about \500,000 ($500). This may seem an absurd price for a flimsy fence, but keeping in mind that this is the same Navy that managed to pay a whopping \1,000,000 ($1000) for a lousy USB drive, I guess such things might not be so absurd after all.
Truth of the matter is, I didn't tear down that fence on purpose and with my two hands. I was clutching onto the fence when Navy soldiers on the other side of it kicked me repeatedly, causing part of the fence to tear in the process. This can be clearly seen in the video footage the police have recorded as evidence of the scene. This ridiculous pincer operation between the police and the Navy has led to my official arrest today.
I fear that I will have to remain like this for at least another two months. I believe they're trying to stop us and weigh us down by imprisoning our bodies and ultimately abusing governmental authority. If we were to let such things strike us with fear and break our spirits, then we'd be doing nothing more than falling in according to their calculations. It will prove a struggle, no doubt, but we need to stand strong against their unwarranted actions. Authority and arrest is not what we should fear.
Writing this letter has helped me come to terms with my frustrations. I'm sorry for not being able to stand among you all, and the townspeople of Gangjung, but I have hope and I believe there will be something I can achieve in my place here. What pains me the most is that I won't be able to keep the promise I made to my son, to go and see him when he enters sixth grade next week. I find comfort in knowing that my son is a strong, good-hearted child who will understand the situation his father is in. Still, it would have been nice to have been able to congratulate him in person for becoming vice president of the student council...
I'm planning to spend my time on reading books now. It was something I had always wanted to do during my time in Gangjung. I'll reflect upon all the moments I had in Gangjung, and every single person I met there. I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to be with you all. The past eleven months I spent in Gangjung have truly been the most meaningful moments of my life, and I know all of you feel the same way. I know it's a tough struggle, but let's not lose hope and keep going strong. It may not be the time right now, but in the end, there will come a time when we can all smile together.
March 31st, 2012
(Translated by Stefanie Hong. Thanks to Jungmin Choi to manage translation works)
It was known to me later that the violence by the Gwangju riot police was one of the worst that has occurred in the struggle against naval base. On the day, the police broke off fingers, arms of a man and threw him down who protested against violent arrest of Mr. Lim. The police also ignoring women's human rights, brutally carried away women as part of an attempt to scatter people, touching their bodies. The police also took away a woman's mobile phone and hit her back head when she protested it. The police also used slanders to protesters and scolded a villager whose garlic field was trampled down by them, saying, "Why are you agitated for such minor thing?"
The video on the day, including the scene of arrest of Mr. Lim Ho-Young can be seen in
The activists' account can be seen in http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/49kU/1605
Mr. Lim Ho-Young's handwriting received on April 2, 2012 (Photo by Wooki Lee). He was injured in his forehead when he was arrested on March 29, 2012 (Photo by Lim Ho-Young himself)