Policeman Holds Umbrella For Disabled Protestor During Typhoon

cop holding an umbrella for a disabled protester

For some Koreans, the word for police officer, gyeong-chal [경찰] has few positive connotations. Many people often replace the word with derogatory terms such as jjabsa [짭새], or ‘gyeon-chal [견찰], based on the Sino-Korean pronunciation of dog gyeon – perhaps similar to saying ‘pigs’ or, for those of a more ghetto orientation, ‘po-po’.

Nevertheless, le flic in the above blurry image may have changed some of their hearts recently as a picture of the fluorescent-clad cop holding an umbrella over a disabled protestor in the midst of Typhoon Sanba went viral on the Korean internet, touching netizens (not like THAT). In tribute to their enduring tenacity, Korean netizen detectives have found and published his identity, causing Inspector Jeon Seung-pil to become an overnight superstar police officer.

From Daum:

Cop holding umbrella for disabled person during protest makes typhoon-like internet sensation

Inspector Jeon Seung-pil, ‘Being grown up poor, I have a special interest for socially vulnerable people… I’m embarrassed to get so much attention.’

‘Any Korean would have done what I did; getting a lot of attention for it makes me so embarrassed.’

On the 17th, when Typhoon Sanba (Typhoon number 16, Sanba is a city in Macau.) was striking The Seoul National Capital Area, Inspector Jeon Seung-pil held up an umbrella for a disabled person protesting alone, his attitude causing a stir on the internet. He said during an interview with the Munwha-ilbo, ‘He has disabilities. How could I just stand there and watch him getting soaked in the rain?’

Jeon passed the police hiring test in September 1994. He said ‘I grew up in a poor family. Being the first son, I was the only one who went to college among three sons,’ and ‘I work with this experience in back of my mind at all times, so I have always felt connected to those in need. I try hard to do my duty in their best interest.’

Jeon, a former Judo athlete in college, also mentioned ‘I became a cop to use my major and help my family financially. I have seen many disabled, socially vulnerable people protesting. I can empathise with them, struggling to survive, not giving up.’

He added ‘What I did on that day, in my picture, should be taken in context of such a mentality.’ He tried to talk the disabled person out of continuing the protest, saying ‘The weather is not good, a typhoon is coming. Would you carry on the protest on another day?’ But he said the protester was strong-willed, and added ‘I just couldn’t go past him, so I did what I could do, holding an umbrella for him.’

That afternoon, the picture of him in a yellow raincoat, holding an umbrella for a disabled person in a wheelchair with a picket sign, become an internet sensation through social network services.

Netizen reactions to the picture poured in, saying ‘It’s so touching,’ ‘That’s what real cops do,’ ‘Who is the cop?’ And finally they found his identity, Inspector Jeon, stationed in the 1st echelon, 33rd Police Unit of the Seoul Provincial Police Agency.

Comments from Daum:


A real cop offers an umbrella when a citizen is sick. If cops keep on standing by poor people, we’ll post only positive comments, just like what we do for fire-fighters.


It’s been long time since I saw a real gyeong-chal [cop], not a gyeon-chal [pig].


I’ve been calling cops ‘Gyeon-chal [pigs]’,  but I have to call him ‘Gyeong-chal [cops]’, respectfully.

칼리 이뽀:

You’re such a nice person… People like you make this nation a better place… It feels good to read such a heart-warming story. I hope the disabled person gets what he wants. Both of you, Fighting!


He’s a good guy. He deserves only the best of what life has to offer.

EURO tires:

We still have a decent human being in the Police Department. That’s very impressive. Brilliant!


I hope every police officer is like him. Thank you for your service.


I haven’t felt this strong an emotion for a long time. Do you realise what he did is a perfect example of what people are asking you cops to do? Inspector Jeon, I’ll never forget your warm heart. I appreciate your service.


When we try to find cops in police uniforms, it means we want them to help us. Yet in Korea, the uniform connotes something despicable that you don’t want to face. The more cops like him, the more beautiful this nation will be. He sure looks good in that uniform.


Why aren’t there many comments on this article… Anyway, you’re a true Korean citizen!


On that day when they were standing at the National Assembly, lawmakers would’ve gone past them, riding in an EQUUS or Chairman [cars]. Whatever happens to poor people, they always think of themselves.


Seeing this picture makes me cry. You rock! You’ll lead a happy life.


You’re the best!


This guy’s a real cop.. Mr Jo, on the other hand, is a dog.


Noms who need to watch and learn were not there. Inspector Jeon, I admire you! People like you make Korea beautiful.


He’s brilliant. I hope there are more cops like him, not that ugly ones stomping protesters and shooting water cannons.


It’s a natural thing to do, yet it stirs everyone’s heart. What a world we live in.


The more police officers like him, the better life in Korea will be.


His big heart affects everyone like a typhoon. Jerks who dared to post bad comments on this article should leave Korea… Go to North Korea, Japan, or wherever.


What a heart-touching story. ^^ He’s a good cop. Jeon, you rock!!

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  • 미대협

    What was being protested? They typhoon?

  • Brett Sanbon

    Noori~ I don’t remember your writing as being so funny. Good intro, good article.

    • Noori

      Oh you remember correctly lol My original intro was more descriptive than funny; James did a brilliant job on “spicing it up”. Anyway, I appreciate your kind words! ;)

      • Brett Sanbon

        Good team work, you two.

  • Matt

    I’m so sick and tired of Internet netizens alternately demonizing and deifying different individuals on the basis of single photos, videos, and/or headline-oriented news stories. What the hell is so impressive about a COMMON COURTESY that is to be EXPECTED of a public servant? Sure, it’s a nice deed by a presumably nice guy, but if it makes you “cry”, you must live in an absolute hellhole full of deplorable excuses for human beings.

    Just recently, Chen Kaige released his film “Caught in the Web”, which is precisely about this phenomenon of emotionally-driven horde-mentality gut response to non-contextualized stimuli (e.g., a cell phone video uploaded onto the Web). I realize this particular article is about the “positive” side of the concept, but it employs precisely the same kind of premature emotional judgement (not to mention the whole factor that just because someone is caught on film doing something, doesn’t mean that person is the ONLY person who’s done it).

  • Cleo

    If the violent ones didn’t attack protesters, how would new generations know what Coreans went through protesting the Japanese occupation?

    Kwangju Massacre is what the Japanese did to Coreans. That’s how they held the peninsula – not by persuading their COUSINS across the sea to join them but by violence and the Coreans were totally unrepresented in the media – it was a total lockdown of the peninsula by the Japanese. No independent press, no witnesses.

    It’s not a good sign that Tibetans NEVER take the chance to compare their claims of Chinese abuse with the exact same atrocities that the Japanese committed against the Chinese and the rest of Asia and why the hell where the Tibetans okay with the Nazis in their midst???

    • holdingrabbits

      What are you talking about? Did you accidentally post on the wrong page?

      • Ruaraidh

        Nope. Korean police brutality is Japan’s fault. Korean paedophilia is Japan and Germany’s fault. Koreans bullying other Koreans is Japan’s fault. I expect it all makes perfect sense to a schizophrenic.

        • Chris

          Actually, sexually crime is China’s fault, you’re getting it twisted.

          • Chris

            sexual* shyt

          • Ruaraidh

            Oh aye, I forgot that one. I can’t wait to find out whose fault it’s going to be next.

      • Brett Sanbon

        Cleo is kind of a running joke at chinaSMACK and here. She doesnt break posting policy so mods wont ban her, but best to just ignore. I cant remember the last time I read more than 1 sentence into one of her posts.

  • Brett Sanbon

    This is how the white man treats people in wheelchairs.

    [Sorry, I wanted to try a troll’s shoes on for size.]

    • Patrick

      That’s a funny story in a real sad way. He had the cop cornered in his wheel chair.:) “”He had a temper. He could fly off once in awhile”. Just hilarious.

    • vetomon

      Houston police fatally shoot threatening wheelchair-bound amputee in head
      on CNN Wire

      Hey BS, you are so naive, look at this nice headline from CNN today.

      This more like the real way white man treats people in wheelchairs.

      • Brett Sanbon

        Please read Chris’ comment.

    • Chris

      That’s exactly what he linked to, you fucking juggalo. He was being sarcastic.

    • Paul M

      Jog on, Chucky! Oh wait……

      • Brett Sanbon


  • k

    I always thought Korean cops were cute and useless :)

    • Paul M

      Pretty much how I see them too. Generally nice guys but very lazy. It seems all citizens of every country seem to lay hate on their own police force. Having been to a few places where the police were genuinely nasty malicious assholes, I have very little bad to say about Korean police.

      • k

        I think cops in the USA can be ether very professional and nice / totally unprofessional and sleazy/ power hungry bullies that are total jackasses and talk down to everyone they meet…..I once was walking across a street to my house, wearing my college clothes, normal college kid and had a big burly cop stop me and start questioning me on the side of the street if I knew the local drug dealers, who I was, where I lived, who my boyfriend was…..all because I crossed my small neighborhood street…..pretty terrifying really….I mean Im a small white girl, 5″4 115 lbs and it was 10 pm and dark out and the cop must of been at least 6″2, 230 lbs with a gun….just completely bullying me was all he was doing, I gave him no justified reason to detain and question me for 30 mins….I feel like cops in the usa are predatory alot too….but in Korea never had a problem with cops but some of my expat girlfriends did….i remember once they came to work mad because some of korean cops had stopped them and started questioning about prostitution and were implying that they thought they were prostitutes….they told me they had regular jeans and shirts on, much more covered up then all the korean girls walking past in mini hooker skirts and heels…..so yeah they can be jackasses too.

        • chris

          so the police were doing their job. do you expect them to read passers’-by minds or have an app that gives them a list of drug dealers and their associates? its not like he threw you in the county lock-up, jesus.

          • chris

            also, look at it from his perspective, he’s assigned to that particular narcotics division. he sees fucked up people all week and cant take anything for granted. i know someone who did that in LAPD and he says you lose your faith in humanity pretty quickly. but hey, sorry he bullied you with all those mean questions! life must be terrible!

          • k

            Wow you’re being pretty hostile to me tonight…….First, isn’t a ‘narcotics” area…it’s a small, predominately retired white neighborhood in a very small tennessee town that is 3 mins from a christian college. Secondly, I was standing on my family’s property when he stopped me, I just happened to have crossed the street to get mail (our mail box is on the other side) and walked back over to my own house, which my parents and I have been living at for 10 years and never once had cops at our place or any of our neighbors. Third, I was dressed in my night clothes with my college’s hoodie on, hardly looking like I was out getting drugs or causing trouble. There was ZERO suspicious activity and the cop detained me for 30 mins outside of my own home to question me over none sense….I don’t look like I do drugs, never been involved with cops or drug dealers, have no reputation with the cops, had my college ID and license on me when he stopped me which I showed him right off the bat and he still kept questioning me. Fourth violence against women is very real and being a small young girl detained by a big, older man with a gun at night with no one else around, even if he IS a cop, is very scary because even cops have been known to rape women. Cops should not be allowed to bully anyone they damn well please with no justification…and if he lost faith in humanity then that’s his own damn problem and he should stop being a cop.

          • k

            and sorry if I’m a little paranoid about men and rape…….in my lifetime I have had 3 men try to kidnap me (once when I was 5, 16, and 22) and 1 man try to rape me…..so yeah I’m a little paranoid.

        • SuperHappyCow

          who the fuck cares that you’re white, you twat. “boo hoo, you should feel more sympathetic to my frailty because i’m white. protect me, society, protect me. i’m at greater risk of danger than those black jezebels(stop trying to fucking capitalize jezebel i dont mean the band that i like)

          FUCK YOU.

  • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

    While I was reading the article, I wondered for what the wheel-chair user protested. Despited the laudable deed by the police officer, Wouldn’t he have returned home dejected if his demonstration with a picket had fallen on the deaf ear? The inaction of the authorities to protest the man in wheel chair means the police officer will continue his guardianship? Impossible. The focus of Netizens’ attention should have been upon why this pitiful man stayed there for what, with typhoon approaching.

    • Paul M

      I was wondering about that too.

  • chris

    “touching netizens (not like THAT).”

    the joke would only work if the article was related to sexual activity. not trying to troll, just saying.

    • Matt

      Hush. EVERYTHING is sexual.

  • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

    Law enforcement agencies hardly command respect from the public. This is especially noticeable in Korea and with good reason.

    Public discontent with the police can be traced back to Japan’s colonial rule of Korea. During the suppressive rule, many Koreans disgracefully served as stooges for Janpanese police officers. Those pro-Japanses Koreans, who excelled in pandering to their Japanese superiors for material comfortability, often harshly abused their brethren without hesitation.

    This traumatic experiences, combined with appalling iron-fisted rule of former military dictatorships in liberated Korea, remains as a form of collective dissatisfaction with the police on public minds.

  • Cleo

    at least, unlike Japan, Al Jazeerah English 101 East does not devote a half hour episode to how the Japanese police commonly retire to a second career … with the yakuza!

    puts the landing on Diaoyutai of Japanese police in perspective – at least to the Muslim world

  • Koramer

    If only cops back in America were as nice as that Korean cop. If only…

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