Fake poster group upset with police response

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Fake poster group upset with police response

A far-right group that spread satirical posters of President Moon Jae-in at nearly 200 universities across the country accused the police on Wednesday of “illegally spying” on its members to track them down.

Jundaehyup wrote on its Facebook page that police have collected all the “April Fool’s Day posters” they started hanging from last Saturday on college campuses, captured their members’ fingerprints, retrieved CCTV footage from those schools and distributed the videos to local media.

According to the group, the police on Tuesday called a group member who hung the poster and, with a “threatening tone,” asked the member to personally give an explanation to officers. The group urged the police in the Facebook post to explain how they found the member’s phone number and apologize.

“Such an act didn’t even occur during the Yushin era, and it’s an act of jeokpye [deep-rooted evil] that severely violates the public’s freedom of speech,” the group said, referring to Park Chung Hee’s iron-fisted rule over South Korea during the 1970s through ’80s.

Jundaehyup claimed the police were going “over the top” with its efforts to find them because officers wanted to prove their loyalty to the Moon administration.

“What’s next?” the group asked. “Pressure to confess or torture?”

The group announced on Facebook Saturday that it would start hanging three types of posters across 450 universities. A photo of the posters hanging on a brick wall at Chugye University for the Arts in Seodaemun District, western Seoul, was uploaded later that night. By Tuesday night, Jundaehyup said it had distributed posters at 186 schools so far while thanking thousands of unidentified “Jeondaehyup student revolution comrades.”

The posters attracted wide media attention here because they were designed and written to seem like North Korean propaganda posters. One of the three posters was titled “A letter to South Korean students,” and appeared to feature Kim Jong-un’s signature on the bottom. Another poster, titled “Let’s subvert the South Korean regime” and “When that day comes,” was signed by Jundaehyup and said that a candlelight vigil was planned for this Saturday at 5 p.m. in front of exit No. 2 of Hyehwa Station in Jongno District, central Seoul. The third poster said a candlelight vigil to impeach Moon was scheduled for this Saturday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the same location.

The posters did not contain any praise for North Korea or Kim, but lampooned Moon and his polices on North Korea, employment and energy, which are often targeted by South Korean conservatives and Moon’s detractors.

Police have crossed out the possibility of charging the group with breaching the National Security Law because the posters did not praise the North. A libel charge, however, is being considered.

The posters read that Moon raised the minimum wage and allowed Korea’s youth, who have been suffering from hard labor, to “rest forever.” By shutting down nuclear power plants, the posters said Moon enabled the public to realize the importance of energy and turn off their lights at home and start a candle revolution, referring to the massive candlelight vigils that played a crucial role in ousting former President Park Geun-hye from the Blue House.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]
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