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Shameful mudslinging

Aug 12,2017
The police have been embarrassing the public for nearly a week in a dirty war of revelations among its leadership. Following a slew of mudslinging between Lee Chul-sung, commissioner general of the National Police Agency, and Kang In-chul, head of the Central Police Academy, Lee was accused of power abuse and other charges before being investigated by the prosecution. Police insiders are now demanding that both leaders step down together.

What worries us even more is that the police have no ability to address such internal conflicts on their own and the leadership appears to be teetering on the brink of collapse. It all started with Kang’s whistle-blowing. He claimed he had to go through an internal inspection after he described the city of Gwangju as “a shrine of democratization” on his Facebook page while he served as head of the Gwangju Metropolitan Police Agency. Kang says he was ordered by Lee to delete the post immediately. After Lee denied the allegation, the fight turned into a fact-finding mission between the two. Lee insisted that Kang made the leak in order to dilute an internal investigation into corruption of his own.

Conflicts over personnel affairs and corruption can occur anytime, anywhere, but our police are unable to resolve them effectively. Instead, they have resorted to shameful mudslinging. It is embarrassing that the 120,000-strong law enforcement agency has no mechanism to tackle such internal problems despite its credo prioritizing disciplines. A tit-for-tat between two sides over a politically sensitive issue does not help anyone.

The truth behind the removal of a potentially explosive expression — the shrine of democratization — should be found. At the same time, the police should re-establish its leadership and build an efficient communication system. If they shake in the face of their responsibility to protect citizens’ safety and human rights, the people will feel insecure.

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 12, Page 26