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Gyeonggi govt. warns of arrest, charges for sending anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets

A file photo from 2016 shows activists launching balloons carrying propaganda leaflets from Paju, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)
A file photo from 2016 shows activists launching balloons carrying propaganda leaflets from Paju, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)

The government of Gyeonggi Province on Friday announced that it would take action to prevent people from sending anti-North Korean propaganda over the inter-Korean border, in line with the central government’s policies.

The provincial government plans to designate several border regions as “danger zones” and prohibit anyone planning to send leaflets from entering.

Those areas include parts of the cities of Gimpo, Goyang and Paju, as well as Yeoncheon County. The Gyeonggi government said anyone violating the ban would face charges.

In addition, it said, the propaganda leaflets will be treated as illegal outdoor advertising and the distributors will be fined under related laws.

Leaflets that land on South Korean territory will be treated as litter, and those responsible will be ordered to pick them up and cover related costs, the Gyeonggi government said. Those transporting the helium used to float the balloons will be reported to the police for violating gas safety laws.

Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung also warned that those sending leaflets in violation of the measures would be apprehended.

Recalling that Gyeonggi Province had in the past been affected by military action by the North, Lee said the leaflets presented significant risks.

“Distributing anti-North Korea leaflets is an action of ‘aggravating a crisis’ that facilitates military clashes, and an action that endangers the lives and safety of the province’s residents,” Lee wrote on his social media account.

“Gyeonggi Province will not allow actions that damage peace and put lives at risk. All possible measures will be used to prevent (the leafleting),” Lee wrote, adding that police would be deployed to arrest anyone who violated the measures.

The nongovernmental organization Fighters for a Free North Korea, meanwhile, has declared that it will fly some 1 million leaflets into North Korea on June 25.

Along with Keumsaem, Fighters for a Free North Korea is facing a police probe after the Ministry of Unification requested an investigation, accusing the groups of violating the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act, the Aviation Safety Act, and the Public Waters Management and Reclamation Act. The ministry is also taking steps to revoke the NGOs’ registrations.

By Choi He-suk (