Police win cases against violent protesters

By Lee Hyo-sik

Over the years the police have won most lawsuits filed against violent acts by protesters during demonstrations that result in human casualties and property damage, with the court becoming more stringent against an excessive use of violence.

The National Police Agency said Sunday that since November 2006, the police have filed a total of 18 lawsuits seeking compensation from those who had injured other humans and inflicted damage on property while protesting. The police have so far won 14 cases and received 175 million won in compensation, with a remaining four trials still pending in court.

For instance, the Chungbuk Provincial Police Agency filed a suit against 10 individuals who clashed with riot police during the anti-KORUS FTA demonstration within its district in December 2006. It won the case in May 2007 and was awarded 2.9 million won.

In November 2008, the Chungnam Provincial Police Agency won a similar trial and was awarded 52.3 million after the court ordered civic groups protesting the KORUS FTA in Daejeon and nearby cities to pay compensation for injuries sustained and property damage.

The four similar compensation suits still pending in court total 2.73 billion won.

The police are seeking 2.05 billion won in remuneration from the labor union of Ssangyong Motor for its illegal occupation of the company’s main factory in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, in June last year. The trial is under way at the Suwon District Court.

An officer said the police will continue to file lawsuits against those using violence and seek compensation, regardless of the extent of the damage, stressing that organizers and participants of outdoor demonstrations should refrain from resorting to physical confrontation and stage peaceful rallies instead.

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