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Foreign suspects slam police for mistreatment

Foreign nationals booked for illegal gambling have raised complaints about the investigation into them by police.
Police say they caught eight foreign nationals gambling illegally in an apartment in Itaewon-dong and following further investigation and questioning, five more were booked without detention. One man was detained.
Two of the suspects tested positive for marijuana, but suspects say none was smoked at the apartment and none was reported found there.
However, the accused say that the police entered the building by force and threatened them with physical violence.
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One of those booked said that two officers had to physically restrain another from attacking her boyfriend.
"When we first entered the office area, I sat down on a desk. The same officer that pushed me earlier came up from behind me and pushed me hard so that I fell off the desk," she added.
She also said that the police officer used aggressive tactics to influence her statement.
"I added, at the end of my statement, details about the unfair physical and verbal abuse which I mentioned previously. When the officer read what I wrote, he yelled at me, told me that I had to change my statement, and tore it up," she said. "I feel that I was forced to omit relevant information from my statement."
The suspects also say that seven out of the eight originally booked were told they had tested positive for marijuana, although five insist that such a result was not possible.
An officer involved confirmed to The Korea Herald that he had used a metal baton to threaten the suspects and that he had pushed one from the desk. He said that the desk was required for working on, and that the push was not particularly forceful. He also said that he did not strike them at any time.
The officer said they did not require a warrant as the suspects were caught in the act.
He did not comment on the drug testing or on influencing the statement.
Police estimate that the group gambled between 3 million and 6.5 million won over a period of time, based on statements from those involved.
(paulkerry@heraldcorp.com)

By Paul Kerry
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