A cohort of President Moon Jae-in’s unwavering loyalists who are most active on the internet has long been criticized or even abhorred for going to extreme lengths to attack anyone they think is berating Moon or his administration.
For years, members of the pro-Moon legion have threatened to lynch reporters or anyone who appears “disrespectful” of the administration, going after their personal information and hurling verbal abuse on internet forums.
Most recently, a pro-Moon civic group vowed to press homicide charges against the woman who accused the late Seoul mayor of sexual misconduct.
The group, whose name roughly translates into “a people’s solidarity for cleaning up old evils,” accused the woman and her lawyer of homicide by willful negligence, or dolus eventualis, and insisted that they must be taken into custody for questioning and get heavy jail sentences.
“Cleaning up deep-rooted evils” has been a slogan of the Moon administration from the beginning.
The group’s leader, Shin Seung-mok, wrote on Facebook on Saturday that he is looking for others who wish to join his legal action to “restore the honor of Mayor Park Won-soon, who died because of political maneuvers disguised as #MeToo by the female secretary and her lawyer.”
Park killed himself last July after his former secretary filed a complaint against him with the police for sexual misconduct.
Shin claimed there was “more than enough evidence” that they were making false accusations against Park, such as a video clip of the secretary appearing to harass Park, three handwritten letters in which the secretary praised the mayor and a letter she wrote to her successor.
“All who drove Mayor Park to death must be tracked down and put to trial,” Shin wrote.
On Monday, the nation’s human rights watchdog concluded its six-month probe into the case, saying Park sexually harassed the victim and recommending that the city government and other related agencies make improvements to protect the victim and prevent future misconduct.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea said the victim’s claims that Park sent her inappropriate messages, photographs and emoticons at late hours, and that he touched her fingernails and hand in his office, were admissible facts.
Such acts by Park were unwanted sexual advances that caused sexual humiliation or repugnance, the watchdog said, adding that its conclusion was based on digital forensics on the victim’s mobile phone, interrogation of 51 former and incumbent city government staff members and acquaintances, and two interviews with the victim.
The commission also said the police, the prosecution and the presidential office did not hand over requested information, citing their ongoing investigation or security reasons, so it was difficult to verify how Park learned that the victim had made the accusation.
The watchdog also blamed the way the mayor’s secretariat was run -- such as making a secretary offer personal services, including handling Park’s underwear before and after his showers, as a result of wrongful gender perceptions.
The same woman is also a victim of rape by another former member of the mayor’s secretariat, who was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail for “quasi-rape causing injury.”
On Jan. 14, the Seoul Central District Court said during the rape trial that it was a clear fact that the victim also suffered great psychological pain due to unwanted sexual advances from Park.
Shin said he will file a complaint with the police against all the judges that said so on charges of defaming the dead.
Earlier this month, Kim Yong-min, a former podcast co-host who ran and lost in the parliamentary election last year under the ruling party’s ticket, asked a reporter to explain why he held his notebook with his middle finger during Moon’s televised New Year’s press conference.
Even after Moon’s spokesman said it felt odd to receive such questions during a press briefing, and that the president did not feel offended at all, Kim, who rose to fame for badmouthing former Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye, accused the reporter of profanity toward the president in his Facebook post.
Also this month, former singer Kang Won-rae, who runs a bar in Itaewon, Seoul, was blasted online for saying the government’s latest disease prevention measures were the world’s worst.
He made the remarks during a meeting between small-business owners and Seoul mayoral candidate Ahn Cheol-soo as he expressed sadness at seeing the empty stores in Itaewon.
Hundreds of Instagram users wrote on Kang’s Instagram to “go live in the US and Europe,” with some hurling personal insults at Kang and even disparaging his physical disability.
Kang later wrote on Instagram that he apologizes to the people who have been working hard for disease prevention, but that he felt a little sad because his remarks were interpreted politically.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org