More arrests resist the destruction that is paving the way for a naval base on Jeju Island; Catholic priest injured during Stations of the Cross at site

Photo by Jo Yak Gol

from Sung-Hee Choi

On the morning of April 12, three women activists were arrested in front of the construction gate at the site of the planned naval base on Jeju Island.  Different from the days before the election when the police usually fixated people from gathering, they arrested those when they blocked the gate. The three were charged with obstruction of business.  They were moved to the Dongbu police station.

Five more people were arrested that day in Beobhwan, neighborhood village of Gangjeong, when they blocked a naval base construction truck.  One of the five was simply taking a photo but police arrested him also, saying he was a leader of the team.

April, 2012 started with
_Courageous people’s entering Gureombi Rock, police use of tear liquid for the first time, brutal arrest of Dr. Song Kang-Ho on April 1, which was his birthday
_Court decision to imprison Mr. Lim Ho-Young on April 2 which was Mr. Lim’s birthday. A Japanese activist Yutaka Umiseto was denied entry. He was to join 4. 3 event.
_Court decision to imprison Dr. Song Kang-Ho on April 3, the very 64th anniversary day of 4.3 massacre and people’s uprising
_ Mr. Lim’s being moved to the prison on April 5. On the day, the Jeju island government made public that it would join the central government’s layout verification meeting that started on April 6, which was fiercely opposed by people because the meeting would be based on a partial report of which the simulation had been ordered by Samsung C & T. In Seoul, 150 people made a human chain protest in front of Samsung C & T building.
_Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon’s falling down among tetra pods while he and others commemorated 14 stations of Jejus- people claimed the accident was close police’s attempt to murder him; A devoted woman activist, Deulkkot’s traffic accident, Dr. Song’s being moved to prison; another entry denial of two Okinawan activists, Tomiyama Masahiro and Tomita Aige(?)- on April 6, which was one year commemorating day of movie critic, Yang Yoon-Mo’s being violently arrested and the very Crucifixion Day of Jesus, as well….
_ The villagers’ exorcism and peace walking for consolation of 4.3 dead sprits and harmonious co-existing lives of all throughout the village, thanks to the artists in Jeju; An activist’s father passed away; Mr. Lim Ho-Young was released on bail on April 7, the day before Easter Sunday….

( I am seldom religious person but I trust God whose will works throughout universe)

from Paco Booyah

April 6: Details of Father Moon’s Tetrapod accident

Thanks everyone your concern and also thanks Regina and Su Lee for your updates on pictures of the situation.

As you all know, today we here in Gangjeong have suffered a huge shock. Finally we see the result of the over aggressive and illegal actions of the police. Father Moon was almost murdered. It is a miracle that he is still alive.

Today is Good Friday according to the Christian calendar. Because of this, at 11 a.m., the ocean team, the catholic fathers, other catholics, and other activists joined together to perform the “Stations of the Cross” ( ) traditional catholic ceremony. This ceremony involves 14 “stations” marking the last moments of Jesus’ life before his death. We adapted it and made 14 stations all around the edge of the destruction site. At each stop the Fathers led us in prayer and short meditations related to Jesus death and also to our struggle here. We began at the Naval Base Office gate and ended on the west pier of Gangjeong Port. It was a very beautiful and moving time.

During the final station, #14, an activist went down the huge concrete tetrapods ( ) to the water to swim. This area is a public area and none our actions were even close to illegal. As the activist attempted to enter the water, a coast guard officer very aggressively chased him, despite both of them being on the dangerous tetrapods. This scared and angered many of the people attending the mass, and several people walked out onto the tetrapods to see, and also to ask the coast guard officer to be more careful.

When this happened, another coast guard officer came and also began acting very aggressively, trying to illegally block our access to the public area of the tetrapods and the surrounding water. As the coast guard officer tried to block another swimmer from going down to water, Father Moon, tried to help the swimmer and block the coast guard officer. Shockingly the officer was very aggressive even though they were both dangerously at the top of the tetrapod pile (and he was a young man, while Father Moon is elderly and walks with a cane). Many people called for the officer to be reasonable and careful and that Father Moon could fall down. As they struggled, suddenly the coast guard officer accidentally caused Father Moon to lose his balance and fall.

The next moments were a terrible shocking nightmare to all of us watching. The young coast guard officer regained his balance but Father Moon could not and fell into a huge hole between the tetrapods. As he dropped around 5 meters, his body bounced off the tetrapods below three times, before he landed at the bottom. All of us were totally shocked at this horror that had happened for absolutely no reason, and many of us thought that Father Moon was dead. Although several people went down to him, it was very deep and we were afraid to move him in case of spinal injuries.

Finally, the 119 (Korean Emergency Rescue) came and after around 30 minutes lifted him out. He was taken to a hospital in Seogwipo for tests and treatment. He has been conscious this whole time. Very, very happily, he did not die. As has been reported, according to initial tests and scans he broke several vertebrae in his back quite seriously and will need to stay in the hospital at least 3 months. He has been moved to Jeju University Hospital in Jeju City. We are still waiting for the final report about his condition after a complete medical exam, but its seems that he didn’t hit his head. Of course he is very weak and shocked and in a lot of pain. When we met him, he asked about Brother Song and when he heard that Brother Song has developed a ringing in his ear because of police violence, he cried. We are all in a state of shock here.

Finally to add to our shock and sadness, the coast guard has decided that our lives are not important and that they are going to lie to cover their mistake. They are claiming that Father Moon pushed the coast guard officer and then the officer didn’t touch him and he fell on his own, losing his balance because of the push. Of course, in the moments after it happened, you could see very clearly in the face of the officer that he knew he had made a huge mistake. And even if this story were true, why was he even there and why was he aggressively blocking us from a public area? But now the police are going to lie to cover it all up! Are they really human? Have they no sympathy for suffering? Do they not care about human life? Unbelievably shameful.

Please pray for Father Moon. Please pray for all of us here. And please pray for the hearts of the coast guard, that they will not lie about what they have done.

For more information, visit the No Naval Base on Jeju! facebook page.