The zero-tolerance lawThe Ministry of Justice has apparently decided to amend a special law governing lawsuit expediency.
The amended law would allow the ministry to adjudicate civil suits that compensate for losses caused by illegal group activities.
The amended law will promote zero tolerance for any infringement of the legal and social order.
The ministry will hold culprits responsible for their actions and try them in criminal and civil courts, even after an incident, such as an illegal strike, has ended.
The ministry also announced measures to strengthen active law enforcement. It wants to give law enforcement officers immunity in cases where they are enforcing the law legitimately, such as arresting illegal demonstrators.
These announcements were made at a briefing with the president yesterday, and we believe these measures are timely and leading Korea in the right direction.
For the past 10 years, our law enforcement authorities have seen their social and professional standing weaken.
In the process of eradicating the misuse of power in all areas of society, our law enforcement authorities have, ironically, lost their authority.
A minister of labor once said, “Even if illegal, if the request is just, then we must listen.”
This, in a way, has promoted illegal group action. All kinds of interest groups line up to engage in illegal action.
The streets are routinely jammed with traffic and people when a demonstration is taking place.
Law enforcement authorities, epitomized by prosecutors and the police, have become objects of derision, and the cost to society is immense.
The Korea Development Institute estimates that illegal demonstrations cost Korea 12.31 trillion won ($12.01 billion) in 2005.
When public transportation workers held a strike for three days near Christmas in 2005 in New York State, the state court fined the union $3 million.
Domestic courts have been making similar rulings. Korail and Hyosung unions had to pay billions of won in compensation when they held illegal strikes.
The law enforcement authorities should renounce populist political activities, such as tacitly approving illegal activities, to ingratiate themselves with the masses.
Illegal action should be strictly penalized if it threatens the safety and liberty of the public.