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American Facilities under Special Security

Posted August. 11, 2003 21:46,   


Police have designated six American facilities in Seoul as special watch-out areas as unexpected demonstrations and attacks might arise before Korean Liberation Day, which falls on August 15.

The Seoul Police Department announced on August 11 that it had decided to enhance its

security against six major areas – the American embassy in Guanghwamun, the American Chamber of Commerce at Samsungdong, the American Gukdong Army (at Eulgiro), Camp Gray at Noryangjin and the 8th Army`s base at Yongsan.

The police deployed 16 divisions consisting of 1,920 security force members, deciding to adopt stringent rules against any reported illegal demonstrations and gatherings in these areas.

This policy comes on the heels of information obtained by police that the Pan-National Unification Students Association plans on launching an anti-American campaign before August 15. Tensions have been building since August 7, when a Korean University Students` Association held a surprise demonstration at an 8th Army Training Camp in Pochon, Kyunggi Province.

The police are especially determined to impose criminal punishment against those who commits any misdemeanors that occur within the designated areas and to adopt more severe punishments against those who damage foreign national flags, based on a law prohibiting blasphemy on other countries` national flags.

Designating special security areas is aimed at precluding en masse assemblies and demonstrations by dispatching police forces during special events or periods. In 2000, during the bi-annual ASEM meeting, and in 2002, for the Korea-Japan Football World Cup, peripheral areas were also under the same designation.

The police also have also decided to deploy 100 policemen of one division to the headquarters of the GNP, the conservative opposition party, while sending one division for each local branch office.

A senior official at the Seoul Police Department, Bae Sung-soo, said, “Special security areas will be temporarily applied until only August 15. However, the policy could be extended if the situation gets worse.”

Hoon Lee dreamland@donga.com