Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tax dollars well spent

Rumors on the internet said that escaped convicts were killing high school girls in Incheon. High school girls who read the rumors were scared. Instead of confirming that escaped convicts were not killing high school girls, police found another solution:
[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.” [...]

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]
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.


Douglas said...

Yeah, I read that too and the one thing that struck me, assuming this is all true, is how gullible Koreans are. I know that this is a society that instinctively distrusts its institutions but to place that trust in something as unreliable as internet gossip beggars belief. I guess that sorta explains the mad cow hysteria of a few summers ago.

Zilchy said...

Foriegners are still looking for "logic" in S. Korea?

Paul said...

So, if making up false murder statistics can get you arrested, how about other false statistics... like the kind that are bandied around for English teachers.

Liancourt said...

That's a brilliant thought there by Paul.
Those are made-up numbers and scare rumours that result in considerably more tangible damage to Korean society, including but not limited to immigrant teachers.