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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Strange and Terrible Case of the Blogger Known as Minerva

In January of this year, South Korean officials arrested the blogger known as Minerva.

Prosecutors identified Park Dae-sung, who is unemployed, as the widely read blogger writing under the pseudonym Minerva.

The charge stems from a Dec. 29 posting in which Mr. Park allegedly accused bureaucrats of writing a letter to local bankers to persuade them not to buy dollars so as to raise the value of the won. Prosecutors said Monday that news accounts of Mr. Park's anonymous posting had led to a plunge in the value of the won that forced the government to intervene in trading.

Mr. Park's allegations suggested bureaucrats were trying to undercut the government's measures to help banks obtain U.S. dollars.

The Gestapo like tactics would make one think that this happened in Cuba, Venezuela, or even NORTH Korea. Yet, this all occurred in South Korea, a country that purports to value free speech. In December, Park wrote an anonymous post that lead directly to a massive drop in the South Korean currency, the won. This lead directly to Park being charged with "spreading false rumors". Now, Park is facing up to 18 months in prison. Park gained a reputation as a fierce critic of Seoul's economic policies, and this rep lead to a cult following. Now, he's facing up to a year and a half in jail for his criticism. Whatever the charges, there's no doubt that a chill will be felt by all future critics of policy in South Korea.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bet George Soros is glad he isn't Korean!

In any case, why would South Korea *want* a stronger Won? They're about as export-oriented as Japan, and Japan is freaking out about the strength of the Yen right now.