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Arrest Warrants Issued against 7 KTU Officials

Posted June. 27, 2003 21:41,   


The prosecutors` office and the police have begun to take legal actions against members of the Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU), who led what they see an illegal demonstration opposing introduction of the planned National Education Information System (NEIS).

The move has invited strong backlashes from the teachers` union, however, which said the high-hand approach of the law enforcement authorities aims to break down the executive board of the organization.

▽ Prosecutors and Police Launch Investigation

The police in Youndeungpo Precinct of Seoul and in Eastern Precinct of Wulsan said on June 27 that they secured arrest warrants for seven executive members of KTU, including Chairman Won Young-man, Deputy Chairwoman Jang Hye-ok, Deputy Secretary General Jung Jae-wook, Director Shin In-seop and Head of Seoul Branch Yoo Seung-joon, on the charge of leading an illegal protest at Dongkuk University and on Eulgiro Street on June 21 against introduction of the planned students database system.

The police, however, decided not to seek a warrant against Do Sung-hoon, head of Incheon Branch who agreed to cooperate in police investigations.

“We asked the executive members of KTU to respond to arraignment by 6:00 p.m. on June 24 11:00 a.m. on 25, but they did not show up, which is why we sought arrest warrants,” said a police officer. “KTU said that it would cooperate in police investigations on the group level, but the members refused to show up.”

The police see the protest by KTU as a violation of the law, which bans any collective action, strike or boycott of education workers.

The police said that it has been investigating whether a series of demonstrations held by KTU members on March 27, June 21 and June 25 is in violation of the law aimed to protect students` right to learn, according to the case filed by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development. It plans to start a roundup operation as early as on June 29.

The prosecutors` office is also dealing with a case filed by the Education Communities` Alliance, a moderate education organization opposing the progressive group, against four KTU executive members including chairman Won Young-man.

KTU Barks at Criminal Investigations

KTU said in response to investigations that the authorities try to put undue pressure on the group although the executive members already expressed their willingness to cooperate.

“Even after they said that they would respond to arraignment next week, the police pushed for arrest warrants, a move indicting that it aims to break down the executive board,” said Song Won-jae, KTU spokesperson. “We have yet to decide whether to cooperate in police investigations, with arrest warrants issued.”

KTU earlier charged four high-ranking officials at MOEHRD including Minister Yoon Deok-hong with abuse of power last month, citing the ministry pushed for adoption of NEIS without any legal ground.

It also filed a case against education superintendents at 14 cities nationwide, except those at Daegu and Jeju, on the charge of abuse of power.

In-Chul Lee Sun-Woo Kim inchul@donga.com sublime@donga.com