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Prosecutors seek 18 months for ‘Sayonara Park Geun-hye’ artist

Prosecutors on Friday sought an 18-month prison term for social activist and artist Hong Seung-hee, who was indicted without detention for drawing satirical graffiti of President Park Geun-hye and for her participation in the 2014 Sewol ferry mourning protest.

Hong was indicted on three counts for separate offences. 

The first involved her participation in the post-Sewol ferry crisis protest in August 2014, where more than 3,000 people marched together in mourning for the tragic sinking of the overloaded ferry that killed nearly 400 high school students on their way to a field trip on Jeju Island. 

(Hong Seung-hee's Facebook)
(Hong Seung-hee's Facebook)

The protest placed the blame on the lack of monitoring by the government. Hong was indicted for general obstruction of traffic.

The second and the third indictments involved Hong’s graffiti works on construction site walls nearby the Hongik University subway station in Seoul in November 2015.

Hong had left graffiti of the late former president Park Chung-hee and his daughter and incumbent President Park Geun-hye, resulting in two indictments for destruction of property. 

(Hong Seung-hee's Facebook)
(Hong Seung-hee's Facebook)
(Hong Seung-hee's Facebook)
(Hong Seung-hee's Facebook)

On Facebook, Hong said she was questioned not as much for the damage of property but for her actions of satirizing the head of the state.

According to Hong, investigators asked her about why she produced the works, whether they were targeting the president and what she meant by “Sayonara (good-bye in Japanese),” all of which Hong felt were irrelevant to her accusation of property damage.

Hong claims that other graffiti, containing swear words and obscenities, was left untampered with on the construction site walls where her satirical works were. 

(Hong Seung-hee's Facebook)
(Hong Seung-hee's Facebook)

Hong further claims the purported victim of the case, the owner of the construction site, never filed for a complaint but the police contacted him first for comments.

The young activist is relaying the court developments on her Facebook page. She plans to seek to form a class action suit, along with other artists. regarding the government’s art censorship and encroachment of freedom of expression by Nov. 11, when a court hearing is scheduled.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (
Korea Herald Youtube