YouTube channel blocks raid in justice minister suit
The police on Wednesday attempted unsuccessfully to raid the offices of a YouTube channel accused of trying to enter Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon’s apartment last month.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent investigators from its anti-corruption and public crime investigation division to the offices of the YouTube channel, Citizen Media The Tamsa TV, in Namyangju, Gyeonggi.
The Tamsa said in a statement to media Wednesday that police attempted to enter its offices with a search warrant but it refused to let them in. It said the “government is trying damage the freedom of the press.”
On Nov. 27, The Tamsa sent five staffers to Han’s apartment in Gangnam District, southern Seoul. They knocked on its door, but nobody answered. They then attempted to open it by entering different passcode combinations. They also looked at packages dropped off outside the apartment before leaving the building 90 seconds later.
The YouTubers livestreamed the whole thing and the name of Han’s apartment complex and unit number were clearly visible in the footage.
Although the YouTubers said they believed no one seemed to be home, Han’s wife and child were inside the apartment at the time.
They said they tried to enter Han’s home “so he might feel what journalists felt when they were set upon by police officers.” This was a reference to an attempted police raid on one of the channel’s reporters for allegedly tailing Han.
Han pressed charges against the YouTubers for trespassing, calling them “political gangsters” and accused them of colluding with the liberal Democratic Party (DP).
The YouTube channel is under investigation by police for tailing the minister on his way home from work for nearly a month, which Han reported in late September.
The channel is behind a controversial report that Han and President Yoon Suk-yeol indulged in a late-night drinking party at a luxury bar in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, in July with 30 lawyers from Kim & Chang, the country’s top law firm.
The report was cited by DP Rep. Kim Eui-kyeom in late October to insinuate cozy relations between the government and private legal sector.
The minister has denied the report and it was later confirmed to be fabricated.
On Tuesday, Han confirmed he filed a lawsuit last Friday against Rep. Kim for defamation and claiming 1 billion won ($763,000) in damages.
Kim said in a Facebook post Tuesday, “The 1-billion-won lawsuit means that no allegations against President Yoon and Minister Han will be tolerated.”
“Since they said they will go by the law, I will confidently respond according to the law,” he added. “But I’m not sure if it is right for an incumbent justice minister to be engaged in such a legal battle.”
Han, a former prosecutor, is considered one of the president’s closest confidents and a possible contender for the People Power Party (PPP) chairmanship ahead of the party’s general elections next year.
Han brushed off that speculation Wednesday and told reporters at the National Assembly, “I have said clearly and firmly say that I will do my best in the role of minister because there are many important things to do.”
BY SARAH KIM [email@example.com]