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ROK Police against Yoon Suk-yeol

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13.08.2022

The last years of Moon Jae-in’s reign were remembered for the war of the prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Justice, which resulted in the election of the former Prosecutor General by the president. But it seems that during the reign of Yoon Suk-yeol, we can observe a confrontation between the presidential administration, the Ministry of Security and Public Administration (MOSPA) and the national police agency.

We need a backstory here. Both under the Japanese and under the military dictatorship, the police had very large powers and were under the control of the then Ministry of Internal Affairs. At the grassroots level, the policeman was the main representative of the authorities, and not just a “servant of order.” The level of repression and brutality was also appropriate, and it is worth pointing out that in June 1986, the student Park Jeong-cheol, whose death began the fall of the regime of Chun Doo-hwan, was “tortured” to death by the police, not the special services. In addition, some political scandals related to those in power were often hidden or falsified.

Therefore, when the Democrats came to power, they pretty much weakened the powers of the police, and, more importantly, in 1991 they made it a structure not directly subordinate to the MOSPA, which plays a much smaller role in the South Korean administrative system than the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

However, during the reign of Moon Jae-in and his pogroms in law enforcement agencies, the National Police Agency (NPA) was entrusted with most of the powers of first intelligence, and then the prosecutor’s office. In January 2021, the police received the authority to conduct investigations and the right to close them independently. From September 2022, as soon as the draft laws aimed at depriving the prosecutor’s office of its investigative powers come into force, the police will be able to investigate any serious crimes, with the exception of corruption and economic ones. In 2024, it will receive the authority to conduct anti-espionage investigations and other political crimes from the National Intelligence Service. Although it was planned to divide the police into a municipal one and an analog of the FBI, which would deal with major crimes, it is unclear to what extent this reform organized by Moon under Yoon Suk-yeol will barely be brought to an end.

As a result, it turns out that something needs to be done with the police, since it a) has too many powers, and b) exists outside the main control of the state, which is fraught with all the troubles that accompany lack of control. It is not just about corruption itself. The police, especially the municipal police (if they are separated), will be very unstable to influence from, let’s say, “local respected people.” This is very important, given that it is municipalities that should investigate sexual crimes and domestic violence. Many “unprofitable” crimes can eventually be “hidden under the carpet.”

Under Moon Jae-in, the interaction between the state and the police, as a rule, passed through the office of the Senior Secretary of the President for Civil Affairs, who often “recommended” which way the police should dig and which not. But Yoon Seok-yeol abolished this post, which allowed him to interfere too actively in the affairs of society. And the question arose, “how........

© New Eastern Outlook


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