Police said Monday that they have rounded up nearly 130 criminal gangsters in the first week after declaring a war on organized gangs.
On Oct. 25, Cho Hyun-oh, commissioner general of the National Police Agency (NPA), ordered police officers to aggressively use all means available, including firearms, to subdue violent gang members after police officers in Incheon, west of Seoul, came under fire for passively responding to a bloody fight between rival gangs.
Over the past week, 127 criminal gangsters have been detained nationwide, with 24 of them put under arrest, police said.
Some 130 gangsters from the two different groups were involved in an altercation on Oct. 21 at a hospital in downtown Incheon, with one gang member severely injured after being stabbed.
According to witnesses, dozens of police officers called to the scene only stood by and watched for about two hours, even as scuffles broke out. The police officers concerned, however, denied the witness accounts later.
Among the gangsters nabbed this past week, 84 of them, or 66 percent, were booked for assault charges, while 27 others, or 21.3 percent, were caught for economic offenses, according to the NPA.
In a raid on a gang in Gyeongju, some 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul, 32 members were arrested for frequently obstructing a bar in the city that refused to give them money, according to the police.
The intensive police operations aimed at rooting out organized gangsters across the nation will continue through the end of this year, the NPA said. (Yonhap News)