Police chief admits lax handling of violence by unionized workers


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Police are considering taking punitive measures against those responsible for lackadaisical response to violence by some union workers at an auto parts maker against an executive.

Last month, some 40 union workers of Yoosung Enterprise in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, broke into the office of the company CEO, and some of them struck — over a period of about 40 minutes — a managing director in charge of wage talks. 

National Police Agency Commissioner Min Gab-ryong (Yonhap)

The executive surnamed Kim suffered serious injuries including a broken nose and fracture in the bone under one eye, requiring 12 weeks of hospitalization.

Police officers responded to several emergency calls from the company, but did not take any action to stop the violence, later saying they could not enter the office as union members had blocked the entrance.

“There were some shortcomings in the process of making a call on the situation upon receiving the report, and reporting to higher command. It is questionable whether the station chief understood the situation and acted accordingly,” National Police Agency Commissioner Min Gab-ryong said in a press conference Monday.

Police will inspect the Asan police station chief and others in command of the situation at the time to determine whether to take punitive measures against them.

Police conducted an internal probe into the case late last month upon criticism the police took a “hands-off” approach to the case.

“Those who did the inspection said, however, that the officers who were on the ground did try to do their work against the many union workers there, so it would be difficult to reprimand them,” Min said.

On the investigation into the violence, police questioned everyone who took part in the assault except for one person, and has found another 10 people responsible for obstruction of public duty.

Police interrogated all the major perpetrators, and are reviewing who to further detain with a court warrant.

Police have also interrogated union members who sued an executive for alleged embezzlement and neglect of duty, and are collecting related data.

“We need a more detailed set of criteria and guidelines on what to under various situations,” Min said, adding police will reinforce the 112 emergency room system to better report, deliver the information on different situations and better allocate police force in each situation.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)


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