Interior minister apologizes over spat between police officials

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 13, 2017 - 18:01
  • Updated : Aug 13, 2017 - 18:01
South Korea's interior minister and top police officials apologized Sunday for bickering inside police leadership surrounding an deleted online post that extolled the pro-democracy movement in Gwangju, the home of the 1980 uprising against a military junta.

The dispute was sparked by a recent news report that National Police Agency Commissioner-General Lee Choel-sung rebuked the city's top police officer in November for the local police agency's Facebook post that described Gwangju as the Mecca of Korea's democratization.

It was posted when citizens across the country staged candlelight vigils calling for the ouster of then President Park Geun-hye over a corruption scandal. Lee reportedly ordered its deletion.

Minister of Interior and Safety Kim Boo-kyum (3rd from L) and top police officials bow in the National Police Agency headquarters in Seoul, on Aug, 13, 2017, in apology over the verbal spat between police chief and a ranking policeman about a Facebook posting. (Yonhap)

A heated debate ensued as Lee denied the report while Kang In-cheol, then Gwangju police chief and currently head of the Central Police Academy, confirmed that he received a phone call from Lee lambasting him about the post.

On Sunday, Minister of Interior and Safety Kim Boo-kyum stepped in and presided over a meeting among top police officials.  He apologized to the public along with top police officials and reproached the two for causing controversy.

"The incident that happened in the police leadership is shameful. I bend myself to the public and apologize as the interior minister," Kim said during the meeting.

Both Kang and Lee attended the meeting and issued apologies. (Yonhap)