Anti-immigration candidate marauds across Korea with squad detaining foreigners

Posted on : 2024-03-29 17:07 KST Modified on : 2024-03-29 17:07 KST
The actions of Park Jin-jae, a candidate with the far-right Liberty Unification Party, has drawn comparison with Nazi stormtroopers from one anti-discrimination organizer
The YouTube channel of Park Jin-jae, a candidate for office in Daegu affiliated with the Liberty Unification Party, is filled with videos of Park marauding around the nation’s industrial and rural areas and randomly nabbing migrant workers and reporting them to the police as “illegal.” 
The YouTube channel of Park Jin-jae, a candidate for office in Daegu affiliated with the Liberty Unification Party, is filled with videos of Park marauding around the nation’s industrial and rural areas and randomly nabbing migrant workers and reporting them to the police as “illegal.” 

A far-right candidate for office’s campaign of marauding around industrial complexes and rural farming areas in South Korea to apprehend undocumented migrant workers and hand them over to the police has sent shockwaves across the nation. 

“It’s absolutely appalling,” said Seo Chang-ho, an anti-discrimination activist in the Daegu area. “It’s reminiscent of Nazi stormtroopers under Hitler. When did our society stoop so low?”

The Hankyoreh confirmed on Thursday that the Daegu Bukbu Police Station and other agencies recently launched investigations after receiving reports that Park Jin-jae, a private citizen who is currently running for office in Daegu’s Buk A electoral district as a candidate for the Liberty Unification Party, was accosting and illegally arresting migrant workers. 

The Liberty Unification Party is a far-right political party led by Jun Kwang-hoon, the pastor at the Sarang Jeil Presbyterian Church.
 
When Park announced his bid for office, he pledged to oppose the construction of a mosque in front of Kyungpook National University’s west gate and fight the establishment of a dedicated immigration agency for Korea.
 
A quick inspection of Park’s YouTube channel shows dozens of videos featuring footage of what he calls his “citizens protection solidarity” squad prowling around the country, visiting regions such as Daegu, Daejeon, Gyeongju in North Gyeongsang Province, Jangheung in South Jeolla Province, and Eumseong in North Chungcheong Province, to apprehend migrant workers and report them to police.
 
The group raids the factories and homes of migrant workers in densely populated industrial zones and rural areas, capturing  workers at random for driving without licenses or other reasons before reporting them to the police.
 
In some cases, Park’s squad uses violence to detain migrant workers who try to escape. The group calls police to the scene and makes them check migrant workers’ IDs, exploiting a system that allows for migrants to be arrested for violating immigration laws if they do not produce a valid visa.

Even in the face of warning that he could face charges for unlawful arrest, Park appears undeterred.

In one video, a police officer responding to the scene can be heard saying, “What gives you the authority to go stop a passing motorcycle and detain a person for over 20 minutes? Foreigners have human rights too, you know. You could be [charged for] illegal arrest and detention.”

In response, Park shouts back: “I’m the one who caught the lawbreaker here. Why don’t the police do their job?”

The Daegu/North Gyeongsang chapter of the South Korean Coalition for Anti-discrimination Legislation reported Park to the police on suspicions of illegal arrest, illegal confinement and assault. On March 19, the chapter submitted a complaint against the National Police Agency to the National Human Rights Commission.

“Park has been taking his cruel behavior across Korea,” said Seo Chang-ho, the head of the Daegu anti-discrimination group’s executive committee, speaking to the Hankyoreh over the phone.

“For the police to not only not hold Park accountable for the litany of crimes he’s alleged to have committed, but to haul off the migrant worker instead, represents a grave violation of the human rights of migrant workers,” Seo added.

By Kim Gyu-hyun, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Related stories