They hammered ‘human fence’, kicked reporters out, and blocked lawyers … the zenith of institutionalized police violence in Jeju

Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in <Jeju Sori> on Mar. 19, 2012, reporting a horrific police suppression of peace activists who were trying to stop the transportation of detonators to blow up the Kurumbi rock in Jeju naval base construction site. The brutality revealed by the police today (and in fact during the last five years in Gangjung) actually makes me ponder about on what ground they can wield such brutality toward people from which, according to the Constitution, the power they are endowed with originates and how a national policy project can be justified if it relies on such incomprehensible violence toward people it is supposed to serve in the end. Also, the ruthlessness of police action toward monitoring and checking functions of a civilized society exposed today clearly demonstrates the evil of institutionalized violence that a not-so-properly-regulated administrative power can end up with eventually. All rights regarding this post stay with the author of the original article or with <Jeju Sori> and this post will be scrapped immediately at their request. In the post, I tried to match the English translation of names of people / institutions / positions to their authentic ones as much as I can but, inevitably, some of them may be different. Original article of this post (in Korean) can be found in the link at the bottom.

Reporter Seung-rok Lee 이승록 기자 |

Hammers, scissors and ruthless police violence against ‘human fence to stop detonator transport’ … took away 10 activists


▲ A peace activist injured while police hammering a PVC pipe is bleeding in her hand. 


▲ A peace activist’s hand badly injured by a hammer police smashed.

Police indiscriminately took away peace activists who were sitting in before the detonator storage facility locking themselves as a ‘human fence’ to stop Kurumbi rock detonation.

In particular, police didn’t care anything; they injured activists by smashing PVC pipes that joined activists together using hammers, kicked reporters out, and even blocked lawyer’s access.


▲ Seul-hwan Koo, Seogwipo Police Station Security & Traffic Section Chief, is wielding a hammer

Around 5:30 AM on 19th, about 30 activists of Gangjung village stopped detonator delivery trucks by forming a ‘human fence’ with vehicles in front of J GunPowder in Donggwang-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo where the detonators to blow up Kurumbi rock in naval base construction site was stored.

Police mobilized 3 riot squads around 7:30 AM and blocked all three exits to the company.


▲ Activists are stopping detonator delivery by forming a ‘human fence’ in front of the detonator storage facility.

Seul-hwan Koo, Seogwipo Police Station Security & Traffic Section Chief, warned around 9:25 AM that “You are blocking the detonator storage front gate with vehicles and obstructing the delivery of detonators. If you do not dismiss, we will arrest you for the obstruction of business charge” and warned once again at 9:25.

From 9:30AM, police started to take away activists but were temporarily hampered by activists’ resistance of binding themselves with climbing ropes on PVC pipes.


▲ Peace activists that are blocking detonator storage by forming a human fence.


▲ Peace activists that are blocking detonator storage by forming a human fence.

Chief Koo started to crack PVC pipes with a hammer to take away peace activists. It was an action that never cared for the safety of peace activists.

Activists cried out pains and screamed but police did not stop wielding hammers.

While cracking PVC pipes by hammering, an activist got hurt on her hand and bled. Police, not to reveal the hammering, tried to shield themselves by their bodies.

They even grabbed reporters by the collars or even kicked press arm-banded reporters out of the site.


▲ Police arrest.


▲ Police arrest.

Also, identifying herself, a member lawyer of Laywers of Democratic Society who was not on the scene requested to let her in to the site for human rights monitoring but police disregarded it.

Eventually, with hammers and scissors, police unlocked the human fence, arrested 10 peace activists as criminals in action, and took them away to Seogwipo police station.


▲ Seul-hwan Koo, Seogwipo Police Station Security & Traffic Section Chief, who is cracking a PVC pipe using a hammer.


▲ As the reporter tries to take the picture of a hammer-weilding police, they are blocking it.

Three vehicles in front of the detonator storage were confiscated.

As police took all activists away, they loaded detonators to blow up the Kurumbi rock on trucks and headed for the Jeju naval base construction site around 10:40 AM.


▲ Police are driving away a reporter from Yonhap News (center with glasses).


▲ Police are blocking a reporter from Hankyoreh.


▲Lawyer Seon-young Seo, a member of Lawyers for Democratic Society, tries to enter the scene but police are blocking her.


▲ Police arrest.


▲ Police are lifting a peace activity away.

<Jeju Sori 제주의소리>

<Reporter Seung-rok Lee 이승록 / All rights reserved ⓒ Jeju Sori>

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