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Police Enter Parliament to Aid Ruling S. Korea Party

October 17, 1986|From Reuters

SEOUL, South Korea — Police entered Parliament on Thursday to allow the ruling party to approve a government plan to arrest an opposition lawmaker for criticizing the country's anti-Communist policies, witnesses said.

About 60 members of the New Korea Democratic Party had ringed the podium in the main chamber and stopped Speaker Lee Chai Hyung from opening a session for a vote.

Lee then called in about 500 policemen to prevent the opposition members from entering another room at the National Assembly, where the ruling party forced the plan through. Witnesses said New Korea Democratic Party members wrestled with policemen but could not break a police cordon.

Members of President Chun Doo Hwan's Democratic Justice Party, which holds a majority in the 276-member National Assembly, passed the vote allowing the government to arrest deputy Yoo Sung Hwan. State prosecutors accuse Yoo of supporting North Korean propaganda aimed at making the south Communist. They said they will charge him with violating the National Security Law, which carries a maximum penalty of death by hanging.

Police Surround House

Hundreds of police surrounded Yoo's house for the second day to keep him from leaving after he said Tuesday that South Korea should put more emphasis on uniting the peninsula than on anti-communism.

Yoo said by telephone that he does not support Pyongyang's apparent policy to take the south by force but believes that a divided country's motto should be "unification rather than anti-communism." He said he fought the north in the 1950-53 war.

South Korean law requires that the government seek parliamentary approval if it plans to arrest a member of Parliament while the National Assembly is in session.

An opposition spokesman told reporters the party would resort to every means possible to stop the ruling party from pressing ahead with what it called a plot to suppress the opposition.

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