Journalists Imprisoned in South Korea (1)
(as of 12-31-97)
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Richard Choi, Radio Korea
Imprisoned: December 19, 1997

Choi, a veteran reporter and the vice president of Radio Korea, a Korean-language radio station in Los Angeles, was arrested at the Koreana Hotel in Seoul and charged with criminal slander and defamation on the basis of a story he broadcast from Seoul to Los Angeles. The brief report, which aired on December 15 in Los Angeles on Radio Korea (KBLA AM-1580), concerned the current economic difficulties of the Korea Times/Hankook Ilbo publishing company and its rumored merger with the Hyundai Corporation. The report was not broadcast in South Korea.
    According to Jang Hee Lee, the owner of Radio Korea, the report angered the owners of the Korea Times, which brought the defamation suit against Choi that led to his arrest. At the year’s end, Choi was being detained in the Seoul Jail. On January 7, 1998, the South Korean government released Choi on his own recognizance. Choi must still stand trial on charges of criminal slander. He is being prosecuted under a section of the Korean criminal code which allows private companies to file a criminal complaint against persons accused of defaming their reputation. He faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

Please send appeals to:
President Kim Dae Jung 
The Blue House 
#1 Sejong-no, Chongno-gu 
Seoul 
Republic of Korea 
Fax: 822-770-0253

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