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Police officer reprimanded over text message to Lee

A senior police officer has been reprimanded after he replied to President Lee Myung-bak’s New Year’s text message with a warning that he will judge the president on a recent law revision seen as limiting the investigative rights of the police.

President Lee sent a thank-you message to all police officers last Saturday, a day before the Lunar New Year holiday, saying, “I am grateful for your hard work and the fulfillment of your responsibility while others are resting. Korea relies on you and trusts you.”

But the officer responded to the message by criticizing Lee’s decision to give more power to prosecutors.

“How could you send such a message to police officers discouraged by your decision to make the police governed by prosecutors. It’s the act that crosses the will of the generation. I will judge you on that,” he wrote.

The revision empowers prosecutors to supervise internal preliminary investigations done by police officers.

National Police Agency Commissioner Genereal Cho Hyun-oh denounced the officer’s behavior and transferred him to another post in a reshuffle on Thursday.

“It was an inappropriate response for a police officer. It’s very disappointing and unthinkable for a police officer,” Cho wrote on the internal bulletin board, calling for prudence from officers when expressing opinions publicly.

President Lee has sent thank-you messages to public officers on national holidays since he took office in 2008.

By Lee Woo-young  (wylee@heraldcorp.com)
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