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Korea to penalize open carry of weaponsBy Kim Arin
Published : Aug. 22, 2023 - 16:13
South Korea will penalize carrying weapons openly in public in the wake of a series of mass stabbings that erupted across the country over the past month.
The ruling People Power Party said it would be proposing a number of legislations to deter mass attacks in a policy meeting Tuesday with the national police and the ministries in charge of justice and public safety.
Tuesday’s meeting follows calls from President Yoon Suk Yeol for policy solutions and action to address mass attacks in public spaces during a Cabinet meeting held a day prior.
The ruling party said it was planning legislation to impose tougher penalties against the carrying of weapons in public places and threatening to physically harm others.
In Seoul and other cities over the past month, including North Gyeongsang Province’s Gyeongju, several individuals have been arrested after they were seen brandishing a knife in crowded spaces.
As of Monday, some 192 people were tracked down after threatening violence online, 20 of whom were arrested.
Another legislative move pushed by the ruling party is to publish police mug shots of people accused of heinous crimes. Under the current laws, police cannot take or post mug shots without the consent of suspects.
The ruling party also proposed increasing CCTV surveillance in crime-prone areas and improving access to treatment for people with mental illness.
The budget will be expanded to increase support for victims of random stabbings and their families, the party added.
The ruling party is also reviewing police calls for allowing greater immunity to officers when they respond to crimes. Police argue that the existing laws restrict officers from using force when apprehending violent suspects, which limits their ability to make arrests or reduce harm to the public.
“In recent weeks, our communities have been marred by unspeakable crimes that are unlike any we’ve seen in the past,” police officer-turned-politician Rep. Yun Jae-ok of the ruling party said in the meeting Tuesday.
“It is of utmost importance that measures be put in place in time to stop this pattern of violence from gaining momentum.”
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