Korean Prosecution Censors Journalist’s Mail

Article from Segye Ilbo:

The prosecution censors a piece of mail delivered to a journalist, states it is ‘above the law.’


Suspicions have been raised that the prosecution illegally opened a piece of mail delivered to a journalist at Segye Ilbo who was investigating corruption scandals implicating an incumbent prosecutor. It is likely that the information about an informer’s identity and the content of the mail was exposed when the prosecution opened the mail.

On November 10th, the administrative service department at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office arbitrarily received the mail on behalf of the real recipient, journalist Park at the Segye Ilbo. Inside the letter sent on November 7th was evidence of a prosecutor’s wife getting money for her trip to Europe from an executive the National Merit Office. In addition, the informer’s name, address and his phone number were written on the envelope.

The mail wasn’t delivered to the journalist Park until 4 days after it had arrived. During the 4 days the mail was in the administrative service department and the spokesperson’s room at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office. When the journalist received his mail, there were signs that it was taped shut after being opened. This aroused suspicions that someone had opened the mail or delayed delivery on purpose.

The police have told the reporter that the prosecution opening the journalist’s mail violates the law. According to Clause 316 of Criminal Law, Invasion of Privacy, someone who opens a sealed letter, document, or drawing will be sentenced to 3 years in prison or pay a fine not exceeding 5 million won.

The prosecution opened the mail knowing the name of the receiver. This means the prosecution can’t be free from the suspicion of investigating the journalist’s actions. Earlier Segye Ilbo inquired at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office to find out about the violation committed by the prosecution. As the Segye Ilbo investigation exposed, there’s a possibility that the prosecutor was trying to get information about the progress of the case via the mail. A legal official said, “The informer’s identity might have been exposed as the prosecution illegally kept the mail for 4 days. It is natural to suspect that the prosecution was investigating the journalist.”

A person concerned at the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office explained the situation saying, “Staff opened the mail by mistake after receiving it on behalf of the journalist. He forgot and delivered it late to the journalist. He didn’t see what was inside.”

Comments from Daum:


The prosecution violated Article 17 of the Constitution, which states that the privacy of no citizen shall be infringed upon. They gobble up the freedom of the people like bugs, and their investigation reminds me of the Revitalizing Reform era in Korea. My country is becoming ill..

폴 크루그먼님:

The Korean government can’t reveal what happened during the 7 hours the president was gone as it relates t her privacy, but it looks in KAKAOTALK. It engages in cyber investigating for the severe criticism toward the president, while it is generous when it comes to horrible criticism towards the parents who lost their children. What should we do with this country?

관악산 학인님:

The fact that Korea is run by public safety and the police isn’t a temporary situation but is accepted as ordinary and normal. Under the Lee Myeong-bak government, Korea ended up an ‘underdeveloped country in human rights’ per the UN human rights report.


The prosecution that is executing the law while ignoring the law, get out!


The Revitalizing Reform era in Korea! Is this the way the world is going round?


This is why we can’t trust the prosecution and should completely supervise it.


Those prosecutors are ugly monkeys.


Assholes, they so easily investigate people.


People supporting President Park like anything whatever she does.


They did open it but didn’t see what’s inside? It can be compared with this situation — you were with your husband or wife for seven hours but you didn’t make love to him or her. Assholes are playing with people.


In this case, the Public Prosecutor General should apologize to the people and be inspected by the government. Crazy prosecutor!


Their answer is childish as well. If you start lying you can’t stop and they lie so well. No matter how hard they try to cover up the heaven with their palm, the people know everything.


Snob, tut tut.


Do whatever you want. This is what you get from people kissing your ass. People acting like slaves, this is what you get.


We can’t blame the human rights of North Korea. The level of the human rights of South Korea is… Once you get a taste of it it feels so much worse when it’s taken away!

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  • Mr. Bojangles

    Interestingly, you translated “추한 검숭이들” as “smelly black prosecution”.

    I think a better translation would have been “smelly prosecution
    monkeys”. It seems that you are inferring that the word 검숭이 is a play on
    the word “검둥이”, which is the Korean word for “nigger”. However, I believe it’s a play on the word “원숭이”, which is “monkey” or “ape”.

    And for you to even even equate the word “nigger” to “black person” is pretty disgusting. Shame on you, translator(s). Koreans tend to think that “검둥이” is a proper term for black people.

    It’s not.

    • HyejiYang

      Sorry for the mistranslation that makes you feel uncomfortable. The word black I chose wasn’t mean to represent African American; When I read the comment I interpreted the word 검 as a word meaning suspicious or dubious. The translation will be changed as you pointed out. Again, I sincerely apologise for my mistake and for your disappointment.

      • Chucky3176

        I don’t know if Korean is your native language, but please be careful next time. The translation you made gives off a totally different meaning to what it was intended. It gives off a racial context where none was intended.

        “검숭이” is a play on word on “monkeys”, as noted by Bojangles, roughly means “those prosecutor jack asses”. 검 in this case doesn’t mean 검 as in black. It’s part of 검찰 (prosecution). And 숭이 comes from word 원숭이 (monkey). Korean netizen acronym for “monkeys” is roughly equivalent to how English acronym for “jack asses” are used to describe the person/group of persons as dumb fools, clowns, jack asses, jokers, idiots, etc.

      • Judith

        Hi Hyeji! I’ve clicked on your author’s page but can’t seem to find an email address for you. I’d like to ask you a few questions about your article entitled “Couples Hiring Guests To Fill Up Wedding Halls.” If you could kindly email me at [email protected] I’d appreciate it!

    • commander

      You sound reasonable!

      My recommended translation is “ugly officials at the prosecution” because characterizing all prosecutors as smelly goes overboard.

      • BSDetector

        I’d rather be smelly than ugly. I can always take a bath. :D

    • Chucky3176

      I think a better translation would have been “smelly prosecution

      추한 doesn’t mean “smelly”. It means “ugly”.

      I would have translated the sentence as “ugly prosecutors acting like bunch of dumb monkeys”. It’s not exact word for word translation, but the meaning is much closer to what the original speaker intended to mean.

  • commander

    Laying bare malfeasance of an incumbent prosecutor is not an easy task.

    Any whistle blower or informant should learn from Snowden, a former US National Intelligence Agency who disclosed illegal surveillance of Americans and foreigners in an unprecedented sweep.

    He took information he wanted to publicize on his laptop, and flew to Moscow with it, then made contact with leading newspapers for publication while seeking political asylum in Russia where Putin, to his delight but ostensibly unwillingly, gave the permit.

    Snowden is credited with reigniting controversy over privacy protection and how to balance national security and privacy protection, though the US intelligence circle is extremely chagrined at what they sees as a breach of a loyalty vow when Snowden was recruited as an intelligence analyst there.

    • Sam

      Actually he passed off the information in Hong Kong. And he wasn’t trying to stay in Russia, he was flying from Hong Kong to Cuba but his passport was revoked basically while he was in the air from Hong Kong or shortly before it and he couldn’t leave the Russian airport. Then we had the Ukraine thing and Putin loves to stick it to the US in any way he can and since Russia doesn’t have much geopolitical power to use against the US these days, he gave Snowden asylum (at least temporarily, I’d bet a decent amount that whenever the end of the Ukraine thing comes that Snowden’s delivery to the US will become part of the peace package). He had already given away his info to two journalists by the time he had arrived in Moscow and did not have it any longer

      Personally I think what Snowden did, in the scope that he did it, is/was illegal. He gave away waaaaaay too much information. That said, I am concerned with some of the meta-data collection on US citizens but as for foreigners, why wouldn’t they be fair game? You think people don’t try to collect intel on the US or any other important nation they deal with?

      • commander

        Thanks for correcting me.

      • GJM

        Snowden had information regarding how US-UK-EU was behaving illegally. How is it ILLEGAL to try to stop someone else from breaking their own laws?
        For example, If I try to stop a policeman from running red lights, or from robbing a suspect, who is in the wrong?
        Snowden was blowing the whistle on the way his own leaders were breaking their own laws that they expected their own citizens and the rest of the world to follow.
        And why is the USA even sticking its nose into and stirring up and further provoking the Ukraine conflict? Last time I looked, Ukraine wasn’t anywhere near USA and has nothing to do with them anyway.

        • Sam

          The US is stirring up Ukraine? Is the US the nation that has invaded Ukraine? Stolen territory from Ukraine? Sent it’s military to Ukraine? Started a war in Ukraine? Funding “rebels” in Ukraine? Economically blackmailed Ukraine? Russia deserves sanctions. Russia and Israel are the only two nations on earth today still practicing good old fashioned imperialism. Russia lost ALL RIGHT to say what happens to eastern Europe after her enslavement of them ended along with the Cold War.

          The NSA was doing it’s job. I think the extraneous meta-data collection of US citizens (NOT including any foreigners, friend or foe) beyond what FISA gave orders for needed to be reigned in. But there were already discussions about it. All Snowden did is showed people how they were doing it. Your little Saintly Snowden isn’t the most honest person himself either, look at the Merkel-phone tap “leaks” from him that proved to be total lies. He is looking to make a name for himself, as is Glenn Greenwald.

          There are ways to go about it that would have been much, much better. Such as the work the Laura Poitras did on it. She performed admirable work. Handing thousands of gigabytes of intelligence documents (that he didn’t even read or know of the contents of!) to ANYONE is treasonous, let alone to a megalomaniac like Glenn Greenwald.

          Why should enemies know how we go about business? Or at least how we did three years ago? Why does Snowden and Greenwald care about giving specifics of those programs at? And people we’ve spied on that are CLEARLY enemies and all the names of people we’ve used ALL the NSA programs against?!

          Snowden may have had high ideals in mind for himself but he betrayed his country. He could have leaked info on the meta-data non-FISA collections and it would have been good. I don’t see any reason why anything needed to be leaked about what was going on to non-US citizens.

          • GJM

            Sam, USA and the EU are funding and training Neo Nazis militias in Ukraine — try to get your news from sources other than Fox and CNN and BBC — And if you doubt me, look at these pictures —


          • GJM

            And here’s more — what the hell business does USA and the EU have in being there anyway?


            How would USA and Britain react if Moscow sent their govt ministers to the very borders of those countries as US has done?
            Sam — USE YOUR BRAINS — don’t be a media dupe.

          • GJM

            And if you support NSA , you have Stockholm Syndrome. You are supporting those that oppress you and spy on your every move. Wait, let me guess — you probably also support the war on Iraq, Afghanistan etc….

          • Sam

            The US and EU have not and are not training or funding Right Sector or Svoboda, the two parties you could call fascist. Show me a single shred of credible journalism that says they are. The US hasn’t even supplied much at all to the government of Ukraine yet, let alone some inconsequential group of idiots.

            In the last election there, they got less then 2% COMBINED in the vote. They are a marginal party that Russia’s propaganda network (RT/Ruptly and RIA Novisti chief among them) tries to act like they’re in charge. They want to play the “Nazi-fear” game to chip away support of Ukraine and the West in this war that RUSSIA started.

            You my friend have fallen victim to the Kremlin’s official propaganda. I find it humorous that you tell me I don’t look at good enough sources and you take their propaganda, hook line and sinker. Russia barely has any freedom of the press at all any more. There’s really only one newspaper and zero TV/radio statiions that are independant news. 99% of all media in Russia is run by the Kremlin. They even make internet bloggers/vloggers who get over 3000 hits a month (a stupidly small figure) register with the government and be subject to censorship, fines and jail if they speak against the Kremlin or what United Russia does in the Duma. Look at the journalists murdered in Russia since Putin came into power (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia) and all the media he has shut down and all the new “media” (AKA propaganda) that he’s started.

            If you want to see a state that is going down a fascist path, you don’t have to look any further then Russia.

          • GJM

            ” Is the US the nation that has invaded Ukraine? ”
            USA is doing everything in its power to provoke Putin.
            “Russia and Israel are the only two nations on earth today still practicing good old fashioned imperialism.”
            Let me add ONE MORE country to your selective list — USA.
            “Russia lost ALL RIGHT to say what happens to eastern Europe ”
            Spoken like a true Amurrrcan — YOU think you Ammmurrcans are the only ones who have the right to say who can do what in the world. USA, USA, USA….

            “The NSA was doing it’s job. ”
            You support your oppressors and those that spy on you. Pure 1984 stuff.

            “Why should enemies know how we go about business?”
            I am more concerned about USA spying on and torturing ORDINARY citizens and their friends. Or perhaps you don’t read the newspapers and read what US gets up to in every corner of the world.

            “Snowden may have had high ideals in mind for himself but he betrayed his country. ”
            He told the world what lies USA was telling and which of THEIR OWN RULES they were breaking.

          • Sam

            The US has had a couple stupid wars since WW2 (Vietnam and Iraq), but they weren’t so that we could add a 51st state! Russia and Israel are the ONLY TWO NATIONS ON EARTH expanding their borders and being imperialistic, let that sink in!

            The NSA may have peripherally collected meta-data on me. I don’t think it’s a big deal but I also think it should be reigned in.

            There’s things that have been revealed about foreign spying that should never have been known!!! The purpose of the NSA isn’t to respect the privacy of foreigners. The US intelligence community is in the business of keeping Americans safe, not any other nation’s civilians. Snowden never should have divulged this information.

            Also, look at what your beloved Mother Russia does. These types of things, and things WAY more violating to civil rights and freedoms, are written into law in the Russian Federation. If you think the Russian Federation wouldn’t go five times as far as the NSA would, with or without FISA, you’re kidding yourself.

            And what’s with the Amurcan thing? Do you not know how to spell? I’m curious, are you a slave of Mother Russia? If not, what other glorious nation are you from that is so much better then the US? I love my country and I want our intelligence communities to work hard to keep us safe and find our enemies throughout the world.

            This super-FISA NSA stuff may have gone too far with some of the data that was collected on Americans, but personally I’m not very worried that it happened. It’s not like this information was used to build or start criminal cases against Americans. Unless you’re in contact with terrorists your information is pretty inconsequential even if you admitted to murder or child molestation in one of these texts or phone calls. It’s an intelligence gathering apparatus, not a criminal investigatory agency or prosecution office or looking for anti-government people or anything else from 1984. Anyone that thinks so is blowing it way out of proportion and is ignorant of the facts.

          • GJM

            Sam, you are a typical example of an ignorant American stranded in a foreind land, brainwashed by Fox and CNN and suddenly finding out the rest of the planet isn’t an outpost of the USA.
            The moment you said “Russia lost ALL RIGHT to say what happens to eastern Europe ” you exposed yourself as an ignoramus American exceptionalist oaf.
            You and many of your countrymen exist on another planet, not the same one the rest of us inhabit, and I am amazed no one here in Korea has sat you down and educated you.
            Good luck on de-brainwashing yourself, and getting off yoru Amurrrrcan high horse.
            Every time I see posts like yours, I thank God I wasn’t born a North American, a country with only a few hundred years of ‘history’ after it was stolen from the real owners, the Native Indians, who your ancestors holocausted.
            USA USA USA USA !
            Don’t choke on that.

          • Sam

            Russia has lost all right to say what happens to eastern Europe. Did they not enslave them? Did not nearly every ex-USSR nation go to join NATO and the EU? Don’t you think Ukraine would still have Crimea and not have a war if it had been smart and joined NATO and/or the EU? Or at least if it did not sign the Budapest Agreement (giving back USSR nukes to the Russian Federation in exchange for a promise that Russia would never violate it’s territorial integrity)?

            You seem to want to throw a lot of stupid stereotypes onto me. But it’s funny because in reality, the stereotypes you want to throw onto me are ones that fit you better; you think I’m ignorant of history when clearly you are. You don’t have any idea that the British, French and Spanish militarizes were the ones who killed the most Native Americans and then the British killed many more and put many into danger in our Revolutionary War when they hired them as mercenaries and got them slaughtered. You paint me as some kind of a nationalistic jerk, when you’re the HUGE asshole who IMMEDIATELY started calling me names, telling me I’m ignorant of everything, thinking you know more of my nation then I do and just being exceptionally pompous and ignorantly self-assured. You are the one who viciously attacked ME when I didn’t provoke you in the slightest. What you think Americans are; you are.

            I am proud to be American. I am proud of the diversity of our heritage as a nation and my own personal heritage; from Polish Jews to Lithuanian Christians to French atheists to Illini Cahokians/Sioux, all a part of my ancestors. I am about as American as it gets. You are apparently either not proud of your own country or know it doesn’t have the history to back up your sanctimonious stance.

            So please, do not speak for Native Americans or anyone else. Don’t think you are somehow superior to Americans because it is clear you do not even know us or our history and whatever Americans are as people, you’re a meaner and more vicious version. And you use the violence towards Native Americans as some sort of a weapons against the US, but look back of the past 300-500 years of any nation and you will see violence the same, or worse. The sins of my grandfather or the crimes against him are not my own to bear or avenge. Vengeance never leads to anything good, we can only strive for justice, but I do not think that is part of your character to do or understand. So I am sure you have another long list of insults, taunts and names to call me.

          • GJM

            Here’s a video on ‘American’ history for you Sam —


          • Sam

            I’ve seen that video before, I’m on LL a lot. He makes a decent point, however there is still the fact that the majority of land in the US was uninhabited, by Mexicans or Native Americans, when settlers moved there. But why is this relevant right now? Do you expect 300+ million people to suddenly immigrate somewhere else? It’s just not feasible. There’s also the simple fact that, unless you’re an African living in Africa, at one point your people were immigrants. And no matter where you live, at one point your people killed other people in a fight for that land.

    • x1sfg

      Not quite how it happened.

  • Balkan

    “Staff opened the mail by mistake after receiving it on behalf of the journalist. He forgot and delivered it late to the journalist. He didn’t see what was inside.” I think a five year old child would not fall for this explanation.

    • Sid Driver

      Sadly, this is the state of everywhere in the world today… feigning incompetence/ignorance over wrong-doings is accepted.

  • Smith_90125

    Corruption covered up and privacy violated in the name of “national security”.

    Those who did it should take the honourable way out, the way other politicians and businessmen have when caught red handed.

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