[L]ast week, police arrested a high school girl surnamed Lee, 17, on charges of fabricating and spreading false rumors on the Web. Lee told investigators without remorse that she “just created the story simply for fun.” [...]Four months spent catching the person spreading rumors that could have been dealt with by making public announcements that none of it was true? What a useful way to spend the police budget! And all of this followed by an appeal to find ways to circumvent these annoying hindrances to police investigation called 'arrest warrants?' Lovely. Perhaps I'm underestimating the dangers that untruthful rumors pose in Korean cyberspace (defamation, malicious rumors or harassment that push people to commit suicide) , but it seems a rather heavy-handed response to one that, in the end, harmed no one.
The arrest in the fabrication case came four months after the initial postings, showing a weakness in the police investigation. Police had narrowed the number of potential suspects to 36 by searching stories posted on the Web, but they had a difficult time nabbing the most likely suspect because the postings were written using stolen IDs and fake user names.
The police officers blame local regulations for the slow pace of the investigation. To search a person’s e-mail messages and online instant messages, police need to obtain an arrest warrant. “It took us 10 days to seek a warrant for each suspect,” said Kim Yang-ho, a police officer with the Incheon cybercrime investigation bureau. [emphasis added]
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