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Probe to Target Violence Instigators in Anti-Beef Protests

Probe to Target Violence Instigators in Anti-Beef Protests

Posted May. 07, 2009 08:23,   


A criminal probe began yesterday into members of the online discussion forum Agora at the Internet portal site Daum who allegedly used violence in last year’s candlelight vigils against the resumption of American beef imports.

Seoul police said certain Agora members instigated violence in the demonstrations that began peacefully.

Cyber crime investigators said they found evidence that Agora members got the candlelight vigils that began May 2 last year to turn violent 22 days later. Around eight to 10 members are being probed.

Police secured statements from a netizen who allegedly manipulated the number of hits online postings attract and illegally used other people’s name.

The Agora members are known to have met in Seoul May 22, when the candlelight vigils were going on, and agreed to occupy the platform and use violence two days later. Police said they denied that peaceful vigils would work.

Under the slogan “Let’s go to Cheong Wa Dae,” they reportedly instigated 200 Agora members to bring tools including steel pipes to the candlelight vigils. They avoided detection since they refrained from using violence but instigated other protesters to do so under the Web-posted catchphrases “Let’s stab (President) Lee Myung-bak to death” and “Let’s stab the betrayer to death.”

To spread their movement and make their posts more popular, they are known to have manipulated public opinion while using several nicknames, urging other members to recommend their posts and putting their messages on other online bulletin boards.

A police source said, “After a year-long investigation, we’ve concluded that we can prove their crimes. We’ll soon seek arrest warrants after finding more relevant pictures and online postings."