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Making excuses instead of protecting society

Posted September. 14, 2012 05:52,   


Three weeks has passed since a 40-something housewife in Seoul`s Junggok-dong neighborhood was killed by convicted sex offender Seo Jin-hwan. Park Gwi-seop, the victim’s husband, went to work early in the morning, leaving his sleeping children at home. He grew more angry and depressed after hearing that Seo raped another woman while wearing an electronic monitoring anklet 13 days before killing Park’s wife. In an interview with the program News A on the cable TV station Channel A Wednesday, Park said, “I shivered because I felt that I myself was wronged. As things get revealed one after another, I fell like this country is really hopeless. Is this all it can do really...?” He apparently indicated that an incompetent government and feeble law enforcement caused his wife’s death. President Lee Myung-bak should carefully listen to Park’s expression of overwhelming anger and lament.

Police merely focused on checking if the rape and murder occurred in their jurisdictions, while the probation office in charge of managing the monitoring anklets was unaware of whether a crime had occurred. Park said, “How can the state protect the weak under this kind of shoddy system where (government agencies) fail to collaborate because they wanted to protect their own turf?” adding, “I felt that I myself was truly wronged...” His sigh of deep despair reflects the sentiment of the Korean working class.

What has the “pro-working class government” done to protect Park, who lives on the second floor of a multi-unit home? All of the victims of recent sex crimes were daughters or wives of working-class people, including Park’s wife and a woman whom Seo raped earlier in Seoul’s Myeonmok-dong neighborhood; the 7-year-old girl raped by Goh Jong-seok in Naju, South Jeolla Province; 10-year-old girl Han A-reum in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province; and Na-yeong, an 8-year-old who was raped by habitual sex offender Cho Doo-soon in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. Unlike people who can ensure their own security with money and power, laws, rules, the government and police failed to do their duties by not protecting the working class.

Only when people can go to bed and wake up with peace of mind in their homes, no matter what income level, can Korean society be called warm. The incumbent government dares to call itself pro-working class when it can neither enrich the working class nor ensure their security. When the rape and killings of two elementary school girls in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province, occurred in March 2008, The Dong-A Ilbo’s editorial page carried a piece on security in neighborhood alleys should be a basic condition for the security of livelihood. Police have not only been negligent in protecting safety in working-class neighborhoods, but alsohave fabricated reporting again this time. The proposed measure announced Thursday by the Gender Equality and Family Ministry is virtually the same measure announced by the Justice Ministry in April 2008 after the killings of the two school girls Hye-jin and Ye-seul.

Whenever crimes occur, authorities cleverly dodge public anger by repeatedly promising the same old actions and then simply disregard the working class. This has led to the recurrence of crimes and tragic incidents. Do President Lee, Justice Minister Kwon Jae-jin, Prosecutor-General Han Sang-dae and National Police Agency Commissioner Kim Ki-yong have anything to say for themselves? Do presidential candidates adequately understand and sympathize with the pain and anger of a working-class man whose wife was murdered? When one of them becomes president, can he or she change a society that has turned excessively brutal and ruthless?