중앙데일리

Should Housewarming Parties Be Subject to Police Investigation?

Mar 23,2000
Unfair police supervision of supposed illegal election campaigning is becoming a serious problem. Two days ago, attendees of an internal report given by Grand National Party lawmaker Lee Shin-bum were taken to the police station for alleged illegal election campaigning. That same night, 10 policemen marched into the residence of Kim Do-hyun, a GNP candidate, to check for unauthorized election promotion. Policemen interrogated 20 people including Kim's relatives and party members for 2 hours in the middle of dinner.
The GNP disparaged what they consider irrational and unacceptable police investigation and have visited the head of the National Police Agency to protest. The party has issued a public statement suggesting that public authority is being unjustly used against the opposition party.
It is definitely acceptable that police take action at locations suspected of illegal election promotion activities. However, investigations must be based on common sense and conducted in a rational manner.
With this in mind, police should not see the GNP's protests as politically motivated. It is not yet known whether the GNP candidates alleged to be illegally promoting their campaigns actually paid anyone any money at the reading of the internal report or treated the right people to a sumptuous dinner in order to buy votes.
Both candidates have insisted that they were doing nothing wrong by listening to a civil petition and discussing the launch of a support group at a housewarming party. What really happened will be revealed through a detailed investigation. However, it is clear that the methods of police investigation too easily create disputes revolving around perceived unfair and hasty actions.
Expensive meals and election campaigns often go hand in hand. However, the meal in question took place at someone's residence, not at a restaurant. The police's decision to rush into a housewarming party and interrogate attendees for more than 2 hours makes little sense. The police's actions would be questionable even if a housewarming party were being held at the residence of a ruling party candidate. It makes no sense at all to take party members from the reading of an internal report to the police station without any evidence of wrongdoing.
It is our concern that unfair and unacceptable police actions are only applied to opposition party candidates. The police's questionable actions are suspected to be an attempt to interfere with the outcome of the general election. It is vital that the reprentatives of the law adopt a neutral attitude in order to ensure a clean and fair election. It is best to take a hands-off approach when unfair investigations raise public concerns.



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