Moon withdraws complaint filed for insulting leafletsPresident Moon Jae-in withdrew a criminal complaint he filed against a man who distributed leaflets calling him "the red dog of North Korea," according to the Blue House on Tuesday.
In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Park Kyeong-mee said, “President Moon has ordered the cancellation of his intent to pursue punishment for insult resulting from the distribution of leaflets in 2019.”
According to Park, Moon “accepted the need to tolerate insulting expressions as president.”
Yeongdeungpo Police Precinct had notified 34-year-old Kim Jeong-sik on April 8 that it requested the state prosecution service indict him for distributing leaflets criticizing President Moon and other ruling party figures in front of the fountain outside the National Assembly on July 17, 2019.
In the leaflets he distributed, Kim alleged that ancestors of Moon and other prominent progressive figures had served in the Japanese colonial administration. On the back, he superimposed the words “The red identity of North Korea’s dog President Moon Jae-in” over Japanese pornographic material.
Under Article 311 of Chapter 33 of the Criminal Act, a person found guilty of publicly insulting another can spend up to a year in jail or be fined up to 2 million won ($1,800).
The Blue House’s announcement that President Moon withdrew the complaint against Kim effectively confirmed what police had thus far refused to confirm: The president, or someone to whom he had delegated responsibility, had filed a criminal complaint against Kim for insult.
In Korea, insults can be only prosecuted if the insulted party reports the individual who allegedly committed the crime.
President Moon had come under increasing criticism in recent days as speculation mounted that he filed a criminal complaint for insult after he previously said that “insulting the president is permissible as a type of expression” and suggested that “if people can achieve satisfaction by insulting the president, that is a good thing” in a meeting with church leaders in August 2020.
BY MICHAEL LEE [email@example.com]