Tougher line on nuisance calls to 112 police center

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Tougher line on nuisance calls to 112 police center

Police plan to toughen criminal penalties and even sue for civil damages when people make nuisance calls to 112, the 24-hour Korean Police emergency call center.

The police said manpower is being seriously wasted and their speed in responding to real emergencies has been hampered by the calls.

They said similar strategies were used in advanced countries including the U.S.

The National Police Agency announced that around 10,000 prank or nuisance calls have been received yearly since 2007. In 2011, only 12.7 percent, or 1,382 cases out of 10,861 prank callers, received punishments. Almost all of them were fined less than 100,000 won ($85).

The police are also seeking cooperation with the courts to make it easier to detain and punish prank callers. They also want a new law to toughen the penalty.

In an example of a recent nuisance call to 112, Seongnam Sujeong Police received a text message on April 29 that read, “Please save me by using a location tracking device. I am in great danger.” Around 30 officers were dispatched to search for the sender for more than seven hours. It turned out to be a prank by a 19-year-old man.

Police in April filed a claim for damages from the man of 11.84 million won ($10,098) for gasoline used and overtime pay for the police officers. He was also imprisoned.

Another 22-year-old man was booked without detention on a similar charge on April 18 by Anyang Manan Police for making a prank call saying he was kidnapped and locked in a car. Police are trying to recover 13.62 million won in damages from him in a civil case.]
By Kim Min-sang [enational@joongang.co.kr

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