PSPD English Newsletter, September 2017
- 2017.09.01 (13:38:25)
People Power 2017
This month of PSPD
It is still hot like summer but September has come already. I hope you wisely spent the hot summer. Hereby PSPD present its activities waiting for cool breeze to come after typhoon goes by. The report includes activities in July in accordance with that magazine <Participatory Society> July and August are bound up in one volume.
Reported Lee Geon-hee, chairman of Samsung Group for violating Real Name Financial Transaction and Confidentiality
On 3 August, PSPD reported Lee Geon-hee, a chairman of Samsung Group for violating ‘Regulation and Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment’ and ‘Real Name Financial Transaction and Confidentiality’. He has opened accounts under other names for the purpose of hiding illegal assets and laundering money and issued cheques to pay construction of his residence and Samsung Seoul Hospital.
<KBS 60 minutes> reported the allegation last May that cheques paid for construction of Samsung owners’ Hannam-dong residence were from slush fund. In that report, an insider of Samsung Electronic explained that some were issued from Lee Geon-hee or borrowed-name accounts which were found by a special prosecutor Cho Jun-woong but others were from unconfirmed accounts.
A regulation to punish borrowed-name financial transaction which takes place to conceal illegal assets and launder money has become in effect from 29 November 2014. Therefore, it is punishable if cheques from borrowed-name accounts were used after 29 November 2014. PSPD has already requested Financial Service Commission to investigate Samsung slush funds on 27 July.
Published policy book discussing problems associated with Article 11 of Assembly and Demonstration Act and suggesting measures
PSPD has informed the police to hold ‘Competition of writing a letter of appeal to the President’ in front of Yeonpoong Gate of the Blue House in October last year but it was rejected on the ground of Article 11 of Assembly and Demonstration Act which prohibits assembly within 100 meter radius from the Blue House.
Hence, PSPD filed a petition for annulment on the ground of infringing the freedom to Assemble but it was dismissed by Seoul Administration Court. The reason Article 11 prohibits is to protect president and his functions. However, a rally of writing a letter has no threat whatsoever so that applying it to that case is immoderate.
Though PSPD has received a very disappointing result from the first trial, it will appeal and try to improve excessive application of the law. On the other hand, PSPD has published a policy book <Assemble where can be heard and seen> on 21 August discussing problems of Assembly and Demonstration Act and suggesting improvement measures.
[Refresh Korea] published
[Refresh Korea, 70 key words to open the door for candle reform and democracy] has been published in mid-July. It talks about directions and visions of Korean society after candle civil revolution and suggests policies in detail. It could be regarded as a revision of <Repair the nation out of order> printed around 2012 presidential election.
A publisher introduces it as “Blueprints of national reform and new democracy put away in good order by PSPD wishing the candle revolution initiated by a sovereign can bear fruitful results”. Cho Jeong-rae, a writer and a member of PSPD commented in a word of recommendation that ‘<Refresh Korea> provides a specific new direction for how to repair and change destroyed and seriously ailing nation to where everyone lives happily’. A weekly magazine <Hankyoreh 21, ver. 1172> recommended it saying ‘A great textbook for citizens. The book all public library must have. Suitable for a ‘handbook’ compressed more than 500 pages. It is available in online and offline bookstores.
‘No War’ press conference and flash mop held
North Korea is experimenting ICBM one after another, and relationship among South, North Korea and US are in conflict. Hence, PSPD and various civil and social organizations jointly held a press conference on 10 August and expressed concerns on increasing tension in Korean Peninsula. They urged to stop provocative military actions and try to talk without giving any condition. Moreover, they demanded not only to stop ulji Freedon Gudian (UFG) Korea-US joint military drill but also to limit roles of China and withdraw THAAD which accelerates arms race in Northeast Asia.
When UFG drill started on 21 August, ‘Peace Flash Mop’ demonstration wishing for the peace took place in Seoul City Hall Square. A lot of people made a symbol of the peace and unfolded a banner ‘Peace, Not war’. No one including US and North Korea must say a word about the War.
Requests further investigation to National Intelligence Service concerning allegations on mobilizing citizens for public opinion manipulation
In cooperation with Jinbo Network Center, PSPD presented 15 corruption incidents in June which National Intelligence Service must investigate. Clean out Task Force of NIS has investigated 13 cases and announced to confirm that citizens were mobilized to manipulate and control public opinions.
However, PSPD has pointed out some omitted allegations and sent a letter of request to NIS for supplementary investigation on 8 August. NIS said ‘Cyber Auxiliary Team’ had worked from May 2009 to end of 2012 but the Hankyoreh reported last April that ‘Alpha Team’ started in December 2008. Hence, manipulation activity from the start of Lee administration in March 2008 to May 2009 has to be investigated too.
PSPD will also suggest reform measures to cut down functions and authorities, and how to enhance watch and control over NIS. Finding illegal conducts and evading the law of NIS should be done by systematic reform.
Selected 14 whistle blowers for public interest to provide living cost subsidy
Result of a project subsidizing living cost to whistle blowers for public interest was released on 23 August. Applications had been received from 19 June to 21 July from whistle blowers who have been dismissed from workplace or had contract terminated after whistle blowing. 14 have been selected through fair examination and they will receive from one million to two million won per month for the next six months. It is the second year of the project that 15 have received subsidies of 170 million won in total last year. It is funded by the Beautiful Foundation, and psychological treatment and legal consultation are also provided in cooperation with Institute for Medicine & Human Rights, Minbyun and Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea.
Wrongdoings reported by the recipients are various and all different. They include a public servant’s embezzlement of public money, public consigned organization’s embezzlement of government’s subsidy, violation of security regulation by public organization, infringing human right of the handicapped and children, corrupted private schools and educational institutes and their infringement on educational authority, illegal manufacture of food and medicine, distribution of illegal petrol and defective construction. PSPD has supported whistle blowers from its establishment and will prepare well for the coming 8th righteous citizen award and the night of whistle blowers.
Sent a letter of opinion regarding to the Police reform towards democracy and human rights
PSPD has sent a letter of opinion <Proposals for the police reform in order for democratic police and to stop human right infringement> to the Korean National Police Agency, Committee for police reform, the Blue House and the National Assembly on 19 July. First of all, it insists to decentralize the organization, decrease authorities, and to adopt democratic control. Measures were suggested as follow.
△ Decentralize the police organization through autonomy △ Reform of National Police Commission in order to control the police in a democratic manner △ Separate investigation and administration △ Prohibit collecting security and policy information and abolish information bureau △ Stop collecting security information irrelevant to crime allegations and suspend security department tasks which do not have legal grounds.
Furthermore, it also proposed measures to prohibit human right infringement at the site of assembly and demonstration as below. △ Stop exercising police authority which infringes the freedom to assemble and demonstrate △ Limit evidence collecting from assembly sites only to illegal conducts △ Suspend or minimize authority in collecting telecommunication data △ Stop watching citizens using CCTV installed for gathering traffic information. Fortunately, the Police Reform Committee has been established that PSPD will try to make opinions mentioned above to be reflected.