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Police illegally monitor civilians to guard president: lawmaker

Police have blacklisted and inspected 16 civilians simply because they are deemed threats to the President, an opposition lawmaker claimed Thursday.

"A police blacklist that I recently acquired had personal information such as specific people's names, dates of birth and whether they are members of certain organizations just because they pose threats to escorting the president," Rep. Kim Hyun of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) said during a news conference at the national assembly.

The document also contained every detail of the activities planned by the blacklisted people, the legislator said.

"This kind of information cannot be known simply based on routine intelligence gathering. Police must have conducted illegal surveillance of civilians with the excuse of guarding the president," she claimed.

The lawmaker demanded an explanation from Lee Sung-han, commissioner general of the National Police Agency (NPA), calling on him to make a public apology and resign over the illegal inspection.

Police denied the allegation of illegal surveillance.

"We choose people to watch each time based on the venue and nature of events that the president attends, among those with records of disturbing similar events, and grasp information on their latest movements based on the law," an NPA official said.

"But we have never regularly inspected civilians in such a manner as tailing," he stressed. (Yonhap News)
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