Park photo vandal denied court appeal

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Park photo vandal denied court appeal

CHANGWON - An appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court decision penalizing an activist for vandalizing a photo of former President Park Geun-hye at a pro-democracy memorial hall in December last year.

The Busan High Court rejected an appeal by Kim Young-man, 72, who was indicted for hurling an egg at and spraying ketchup on the picture, five days after the parliament voted on Dec. 9 to impeach her over corruption. The image was exhibited in a facility in the southern city of Changwon in commemoration of a 1960 civil uprising against election fraud.

In April, the Masan branch of the Changwon District Court fined Kim, the leader of a local anti-Park group, 2 million won ($1,760) for damaging public property and breaking into a building.

In Thursday’s ruling, the high court said it finds it difficult to reduce the sentence for Kim as he has a probation record, even though the photo was restored without being physically damaged.

Kim said he will appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the high court’s ruling. On Dec. 14, Kim and his colleagues visited the hall and demanded the removal of the photo showing Park posing with children before he damaged the picture.

Prosecutors initially filed a summary indictment. He defied it and demanded a formal trial.

On March 15, 1960, thousands of students and citizens in the city rose up amid widespread allegations of vote rigging by the Rhee Syng-man government. Rhee had ruled the country since becoming the country’s first president in 1948. The March uprising was forcibly quashed, leaving seven dead and many others injured. The deaths became the rallying point for a nationwide pro-democracy movement on April 19 that brought down the Rhee administration.

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