Police Raging over Han Dong-hoon's Enforcement Decree That Will Restore the Investigative Powers of the Prosecution Service

Bak Ha-yan, Kang Yeon-ju 입력 2022. 8. 17. 17:09
글자크기 설정 파란원을 좌우로 움직이시면 글자크기가 변경 됩니다.

이 글자크기로 변경됩니다.

(예시) 가장 빠른 뉴스가 있고 다양한 정보, 쌍방향 소통이 숨쉬는 다음뉴스를 만나보세요. 다음뉴스는 국내외 주요이슈와 실시간 속보, 문화생활 및 다양한 분야의 뉴스를 입체적으로 전달하고 있습니다.

The National Police Agency in Migeun-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul on August 1, one day before the official launch of the police bureau in the Ministry of the Interior and Safety. Han Su-bin

The police are in a rage after Minister of Justice Han Dong-hoon announced the amendment of the Enforcement Decree of the Prosecutors’ Office Act, which will expand the investigative authority of the Prosecution Service. The police argued that the government established a police bureau in the Ministry of the Interior and Safety claiming that the police had too much power after changes to investigative powers of the police and Prosecution Service, then restored the investigative powers of the Prosecution Service. Some members of the police argued that if this was what the government wanted, then it should also scrap plans to establish the police bureau as well.

A police officer in the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency wrote a post titled, “If This Is What You Want, Then Return Everything Back to the Way They Were” on the police intranet on August 14. The officer wrote, “They are trying to restore the authority of the Prosecution Service by amending the enforcement decree,” and argued, “Take back the investigative powers, which was all style and no substance, just more of a burden on lower ranking officers on the field, and abolish the autonomous police system and the police bureau... and return things back to the way they were.”

The post went on to state, “I have one thing I want to say to them (prosecutors). ‘Have it all your way’.” The post attracted several comments including, “Why don’t you who got promoted after changes to the investigative authority hand in your new positions, and let’s just go back to the national police system,” and “They accused the police of having too much power claiming the prosecutors were stripped of their investigative powers and established a police bureau. And now they are not only restoring the (prosecutors’) investigative powers completely as if there was never an attempt to strip them away, but are actually strengthening the power of the prosecutors even more and tightening the prosecutor’s control over police investigations to their convenience.”

There was also a post titled, “The Police Sold at the Cheap Price of an Enforcement Decree.” The writer argued, “The justice ministry nullified the bill that stripped prosecutors of their investigative authorities with the enforcement decree,” and said, “It is common sense to abolish the police bureau since the Prosecution Service has become powerful.” The post added, “If there is a problem with the law, the reasonable thing to do is to fix the law.”

This post drew comments like “We need to build the momentum so this will lead to the impeachment (of Lee Sang-min, minister of the interior and safety),” and “What are they trying to do, returning to a system used back in the days of the military dictatorship? How much more will they ruin everything? I’m really worried and frustrated.”

On August 16, Lee Woong-hyuk, a professor in the Department of Police Science at Konkuk University asked, “If the justice minister first restores the investigative authority of the Prosecution Service and then the interior minister installs a police bureau, aren’t they missing a cause?” He then pointed out that this could lead to suspicions that the interior minister and the justice minister were keeping in step with each other. In other words, the two ministers may have adjusted the order and time to first establish the police bureau, then expand the investigative powers of the prosecutors to both install the police bureau in the interior ministry and to drastically strengthen the investigative authority of the Prosecution Service.

Lee Yoon-ho, a chair professor in the Department of Police Science at the Cyber University of Korea said the justice ministry’s amendment of the enforcement decree could be a positive change “for it can strengthen the areas where police investigations are lacking due to excessive workloads and delays in police investigations after the investigative powers were removed from the Prosecution Service,” but added, “The inconvenience citizens can experience, such as the abuse of investigative authority, is a problem that we need to resolve.”

Copyright© 경향신문. 무단전재 및 재배포 금지.

이 기사에 대해 어떻게 생각하시나요?