See also Regis Tremblay’s writing
Dungree (Real name: Park Sung-Soo) has stayed in the Gangjeong village since summer 2011. With his unlimited energy and dedication, he produced the videos of daily struggle in Gangjeong almost everyday. His video ‘Gangjeong Style’ made a mega hit. Not only that, he is the one who has diligently collected and listed all the daily human rights violation incidents in the field. Thanks to him, enormous examples of judicature oppression have been known to the world.
Moreover, thanks to his dedication, people nationwide and overseas could be vividly informed about the struggle and suffering of Gangjeong.
Today, on March 25, we got the surprising news from his writing that he is resolute to go to jail not only because he can’t afford fines but he is sorry to young female activists who not only suffer from daily long-time protests in front of gates but also from tremendous fines for their protests.
As of Feb. 2013, average fines against each activist are about $3,000 to $4,000 USD. Some of them are fined of $ 8,000 to $9,000 USD each. The fines against activists have become soared especially after the Presidential election on Dec. 19, 2012. It is a new strategic method of the government to oppress the movement against the Jeju naval base project. See more detail, here.
Dungree has been accused for trespass in 2012 when he entered alone the naval base project committee building complex to protest that the navy had confined, threatened, and harassed two young woman reporters with condemning sexual remarks. The two reporters appealed on the incident later to the Korean human rights committee (though eventually dismissed by the puppet committee)
You can watch the video at the time here. Dungree himself narrates with humor what happened to him on the day, including the reminders of the past crimes of the same navy personnel who have committed human rights violation on two reporters. One of those was lieutenant commander Chung who has openly put a banner of naming protesters as ‘the pro-North Korea left,’ in the village.
Recently Dungree’s appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed and he has to pay 1,400,000 KRW (which is about $ 1,300 USD).
He was told to be volunteering to appear in the Jeju Prosecutor’s office and was eventually jailed as of 5~6 pm, today, March 25. Currently the Korean law, counts a day for 50,000 KRW(which is about $ 50 USD). It means he has to be imprisoned for 28 days.
Dungree was very resolute to say he does neither want people pay for his fines nor he was visited but receiving letters. He is willing to bear the sufferings that he would encounter in the prison for a month.
He became the first victim of the government’s new strategy to oppress people with the judicature fines. Before him, Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo had been jailed for 10 days because of his protest in 2010 (See the bottom of here) At the time the fines against him was 2,000,000 won and people released him by gathering remaining fines for him despite Yang’s own resolution to be jailed for full period.
The matter is that it would be not only Dungree but that many activists are now at the risk of being jailed because they cannot afford fines. As the judicature oppression will grow, more and more activists will suffer from those burdens of fines.
Today March 25, the Jeju media says that the Ministry of Strategic Planning allocated the budget for the naval base project. As the 70 days’ period ended on March 11 and the Island governor jointly signed with the central government on the civilian-military joint usage protocol on March 14, the acceleration of construction speed has been expected.
Tomorrow, March 26, the villagers will fight again to dissipate the navy’s presentation on military residential housing project. The villagers had an emergency general meeting on March 24. The Gangjeong Village Association concerned about saying that “Even though the naval base construction has not been completed, the navy is again raging wind with the matter of the military residence house in the Gangjeong village. The naval base would bring lots of conflicts such as radar base, helipad, powder magazine, training facilities, military airport, and more and more military residential house projects..”
Reverends, Kim Hong-Soul and Kim Hee-Young will take solidarity fasts with Yang Yoon-Mo from March 26 to 29. The peace activists will take daily one man protest in front of the Jeju Prosecutors’ Office to denounce the judicature oppression upon the jailing of Dungree.
As Dungree appealed to people in his writing, please become a member of the Gangjeong Friends that gathers members from the domestic and international to support the fines for activists, campaign for Life and Peace Gangjeong Village and movement for Demilitarizing Jeju, the Peace Island.
You may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.