Saturday, September 10, 2011

Korea National Police Agency going all out to prevent foreign suspects from falling victim to racist Korean police

This is an interesting story translated over at Korea Beat:
From now on, detectives investigating crimes by foreigners will be re-assigned whenever they make racially discriminatory remarks.

The National Police Agency (경찰청) announced on the 7th that, in order to protect the rights of foreigners suspected of crimes and to expand the reliability and impartiality of the detectives who investigate those crimes, those detectives will be subject to a system of removal.

According to the Agency, investigators who use racially discriminatory language, fail to notify the consulates of foreign criminal suspects, compel suspects to make statements through force or lack of sleep, or fail to read them their Miranda rights, will be re-assigned at the request of the suspects in order to prevent improper investigative techniques.

Unlike when Korean suspects file such a request, where an investigative means committee is formed and makes a decision on the detectives being re-assigned, for foreign affairs detectives there will be automatic re-assignment without a committee or reason given.
Wow. That's great that the National Police Agency is so keen to prevent foreign suspects from falling victim to racist cops, but automatic re-assignment seems to have some potential for abuse itself. It would seem that a savvy suspect could simply keep making accusations of racially discriminatory language in order to impede an investigation.

Perhaps rules will be in place to guard against such action (e.g., verifying what is said by means of videotaping of interrogations). I hope this also doesn't become merely new rules that are not enforced. Still, I think there are enough organizations, from Catholic charities helping foreign migrant workers from poor countries to groups like ATEK, that would easily create such an international stink if such rules were violated against an innocent person, that they could keep the police reasonably in check. One would hope, anyway.

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