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LinkAsia | Feb 25
Conservative new South Korean President Park Geun-hye surprised observers by toning down hardline rhetoric and emphasizing personal happiness and c...
Now, last month in South Korea, workers at a car parts factory were attacked by security guards while they were striking for better wages. At least 30 workers were seriously injured and hospitalized after being beaten by "thugs" wielding clubs and steel pipes. Here•s South Korean broadcaster MBC with this report.
July 27th, 5 AM. Private security guards dressed for combat broke into the SJM factory.
They hurled some sort of iron stick at us. I got hit by one.
The surprise attack occurred an hour earlier than the security company told the police it would. The private security firm conspired with SJM on the operation.
One hour before entering the factory, six buses carrying security guards parked in this lot. Three people from SJM were here, too.
When the SJM people asked about clearing union workers from the factory, the private security firm said yes.
Anyone could have anticipated that there would be violence while attempting to evacuate so many people.
According to law, if a company hires a security firm for a violent suppression, the company is not legally liable for what happens. A witness called the police while SJM's security guards were violently crushing the strikers. He said the police regarded the guards as "combat police" and did nothing. The police said that was a mistake. But it appears the police knew there would be some violence.
There was nothing wrong with police procedure, that's all we can say.
In the past, police have escorted security guards who were using water cannons. And at a construction site, there was criticism that the police overlooked violence happening right in front of them.
You're the police! Do something!
It's a violent situation!
Please get out of the way so I can get in.
Even though carrying weapons and using force is against the law, the authorities are passive when faced with violence by security guards.
Kim Tae-wook, Lawyer:
The police did not take responsibility for the situation under their control. So this violent incident could have been predicted.
For money, violent security firms will work for any kind of business. The authorities should reflect on whether they can ignore people who are armed with assorted water cannon cars, and even drone helicopters.
During Lee Myung-bak's administration, the market for security firms, or yong-yuk in Korean, has boomed. According to the National Police Agency, the number of security firms in South Korea rose from roughly 2,800 in 2007 to almost 3,500 in 2010.