Gangjeong Village Mayor handcuffed and taken into custody by police

photo by Eunmi Pang

photo by Eunmi Pang

From Sung-Hee Choi

Emergency: Cho Kyung-Cheol, the Mayor of Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea, was arrested this afternoon [September 5] for his refusal to get investigated for the alleged charges on the incident of April 28 when soldiers appeared in military uniform and vehicle, directing guns all-around and passing through the center of the village.

Mayor Cho was first carried into the Seogwipo police station where he kept silence to the police inquiry while closing his eyes. He was then carried to the Dongbu police station in Jeju Ciity. It is expected that he could be there at least 48 hours unless he responds to the investigation.

To be very infuriatingly, the police handcuffed his hands and closed the investigation room door as if they are dealing with a heavy criminal, which is unusual.

Mayor Cho has said with a media reporter the other time that the state and police have been eager to accuse villagers with whatever measures and it would be never surprising if the police suddenly arrest him one day. Otherwise, since April 10, he has been staying in the sit-in tent demanding the navy/ government to drop unjust lawsuit against people.

What he did on April 28? He was just telling the soldiers not to threaten people in such way as there is also an elementary school nearby. Like other villages in Jeju, Gangjeong has a trauma of April 3rd incident and it is really threatening for people to watch soldiers and military vehicles in their town.

On July 20, female villager Kim Miryang was also arrested for the refusal of being investigated. She was released in 48 hours.


September 7 Update: Mayor Cho Kyung-Cheol was released around noon. He ate nothing for two days in protest of his unjust arrest. He says he believes the measures of unjust accusation and arrest against him and other people is keenly related to a secret government institute meeting in 2009.

For more information, visit the Save Jeju Now website, or the No Naval Base on Jeju Facebook page.