SKorea: Politician who launched teargas may face no punishment
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SKorea: Politician who launched teargas may face no punishment

Original article in Korean is at this link.

It has been over a week since National Assembly Representative Kim Seon-dong of the the Democratic Labor Party exploded a teargas canister in the National Assembly during debate over the KORUS FTA, but no investigation of him has even begun and criticism of the police is mounting. Many are calling the delay by prosecutors an example of abuse of the law.


Rep. Kim Seon-dong, bottom, of the opposition Democratic Labor Party, explodes tear gas in front of the speaker's chair on November 22. Pic: AP.

On the 30th the Seoul southern district prosecutors’ office announced that it had still not begun an investigation despite receiving requests from four civic organizations, including Right Korea (라이트코리아),  on the 24th, two days after the teargas incident. Some see this as prosecutors having no power to act because the National Assembly itself has not requested action against Rep. Kim.

On the 29th the National Assembly Secretariat accused Rep. Kim of interefering with government business, but only by damaging a door and a large window in a chamber of the Assembly. The Grand National Party has also accused him of breaking the law.

Jeon Hui-gyeong, head of Citizens United for Better Society (바른사회시민회), said of this that “with the National Assembly failing to call for action against Rep. Kim, the National Assembly could be seen as a lawless area… Because of this prosecutors are following the Assembly’s actions by taking none of their own.” Chairman Jeon continued that “if an ordinary citizen had set off teargas police and prosecutors would have already begun investigating… That prosecutors have done nothing about this shows they are making political considerations.”

Paark Jeong-seop, head of Freedom Union (자유연합), said that “the continuing delay of the investigation is an example of abuse of the law… People who break the law should all be treated exactly the same, with no differential treatment regarding social status.”