(Translated from Korean; Click here for original Korean version)
On April 1st, at around 2 p.m., I was on Gureombi to protest against the heavy construction equipment that is destroying Gureombi. From outside the razor-wire fence on the western side of Gureombi, I was shouting, “Don’t Destroy Gureombi!” and “Stop Construction!” and “Stop!”
In that place, I was not alone but together with Priest Moon Jung Hyeon, Priest Kim Sung Hwan, and [former Jeju Assembly woman] Hyun Ae Ja, venting our pent up anger. Despite our protests, about 10 meters inside the fence, two huge hydraulic excavators were break rocks and loading the broken rocks into a dump truck. I felt deep despair because even though we yelled and shouted, the construction workers didn’t listen. Because of my despair, without knowing what I was doing, I found myself grabbing the fence, pulling it down to the ground, and stepping across it, wanting to shout at them near the excavators. In front of me, around 30 riot police blocked the way with their shields and their captain sneered mockingly. As soon as I crossed the fence, I was surrounded and isolated. When I tried to resist, the police beat me, pushed me to the ground and held me down with their feet. They twisted my left hand and pinned it behind my back. One police officer painfully jabbed his finger into my ear. The ground was covered with sharp, broken rocks but their feet pushed my feet forcefully downward. While they carried me, my head hit the rocks on the ground two or three times.
Around 2:30, I was delivered to a naval jeep and transferred to the Naval base office gate. There, a police car was standing by. Around 100 police officers made a big wall and blocked the villagers and activists who came to protest, making a space for the police to move me into the police car. I thought that my arrest was unjust, so I resisted being put in the car. During that time, the police tried to force me into the car. While doing so, my body was turned upside down at the open car door and my upper body fell to the ground and under the car. Because of this, I tried to hold anything that I could grab causing my upper body to be pulled underneath the car. Several police officers pulled my legs but my head became stuck between the car and the asphalt ground. I yelled that my head was stuck, but the police officers were not concerned, and pulled my legs more strongly. From the left side of my chin to the middle of my chin my neck was stuck on some metal structure underneath the car.
My lower body continued being pulled by several people and because of the pressure on my neck, I couldn’t speak anymore, only groan furiously. As the police pulled my body more strongly, the edge of my teeth began to crack. I could feel and chew tiny sand-like grains of tooth inside my mouth. I heard the bones in my neck popping and became afraid that my head was separating from my body. To protect myself from dying or at least protect my head from separating from my neck bones, I frantically tried to escape to my left. During this whole time, the police just continuously pulled my legs and several times some of the police officers even pulled my genitals. I couldn’t see their faces but I could hear their mocking laughter. Behind me, I heard Priest Kim Sung Hwan protesting their cruel treatment towards me. After 5-10 minutes of fear and pain, I pulled myself towards the left with all of my strength, to release my chin from the metal structure where it was stuck. I could barely release my neck and then police pulled me out.
After the police put me into the police car, I spit out my broken teeth, which the police complained about. Behind the driver’s seat, one police officer with the last name of “Goh”, punched me with his fist. I felt pain from his fist on the left side of my stomach.
After that, in the Seogwipo Police Station, I appealed about the pain in my chin, neck, right shoulder, and back. I was lying down at that time and asked them to borrow a cell phone to make a phone call. However, they derided me saying that since I was lying down, I must just be sleepy, so I should just sleep. After giving this answer they disappeared. I had requested that they call 119 [Korean emergency medical number] but they didn’t call for 30 minutes.
I am filing a lawsuit with the Korean National Human Rights Commission against the police officers who arrested me. I request legal punishment and penalties for the police officers who treated me in an unreasonable way, so that the police will no longer trample on people’s human rights, threaten people’s lives, and disrespect people’s bodies.
April 2, 2012,
Song Kang Ho