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City gov’t takes action to counter graffiti art

Mar 18,2015
After identifying four Australians as the perpetrators behind graffiti art left in February on three idle Seoul subway trains, local authorities have increased their efforts to come up with countermeasures to prevent similar cases.

After an exclusive JoongAng Ilbo report on Tuesday detailed the damage and overall rise in vandalism on subway cars, the institutions responsible for the safety and security of public property were criticized over what many saw as poor surveillance.

In response, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said on Tuesday that it will reinforce security on temporary garages, which are often targeted by graffiti artists. The city government is also considering setting up security cameras and an unmanned security system for those facilities.

Temporary garages are where the first train of the day waits before its departure time.

The Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, which is in charge of managing Subway line Nos. 5 to 8, rewelded the bars on its ventilation windows at all 157 of its stations and reinforced the locks on its garages.

The Korea Railroad, which manages intercity trains, and Seoul Metro Line 9, also responded by improving surveillance at its stations.

The police have since requested the Korean Immigration Service to inform the authorities as soon as the four Australians reenter Korea.

Spray-painting graffiti art on a subway train is considered vandalism, though is not serious enough to warrant extradition. The police identified the four Australians in question on Feb. 7 using security camera footage, cross-checking it with immigration and airport records.

According to the Korean Railway Police, the amount of graffiti found on subway trains has increased sharply, from just one instance in 2013 to 12 in 2014. There have already been four instances this year.

BY JANG HYEOK-JIN and KIM BONG-MOON [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]


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