British graffiti brothers get four months eachTwo brothers from the United Kingdom who spray-painted graffiti on subway cars in Korea last July were each sentenced to four months in jail on Monday for breaking into railway depots and damaging public property.
The brothers, who are 25 and 23 years old, are natives of Manchester, England. They arrived in Korea on July 10 and spray-painted subway cars in railway depots in Seongdong and Jungnang districts for the next two days, writing “SMTS” and “SMT” in letters about 1 meter (3.3 feet) high and 11 to 12 meters long.
Findings showed that the brothers were members of a Manchester graffiti crew called SMT. The brothers said the letters are acronyms for “So Much Trouble.” SMT is a seven-member group that has appeared in British media for spray-painting public property.
Police arrested the brothers at their guest house before their planned departure on July 13, and the Seoul Eastern District Court sentenced the brothers to four months each.
“Not only is direct damage done when a subway car is spray-painted,” the judges said in their ruling, “but indirect harm is done because that vehicle will be unable to operate while under repair.”
The brothers appealed the ruling, saying the sentence was too harsh given the nature of the crime.
But in the appeal on Monday, the court upheld its initial ruling, pointing out that the brothers have served jail terms for similar crimes in the past. In the United Kingdom, the elder brother was sentenced to 14 months in jail for 54 cases of graffiti, incurring 124,000 pounds ($162,402) in damages. His younger brother was sentenced to 12 months in jail for 25 cases of graffiti, incurring 45,019 pounds in damages.
BY KIM EUN-JIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]