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Korea: Can a brassiere be a dangerous product?

On the 15th of August, the 815 Liberation Day led people to gather together and to have a 100th candlelight vigil. While they marched on the street, some of them were taken to the police station. A scandal emerged when it was discovered that in a police station in Seoul officers removed a woman’s brassiere. The reason was that it could be used as a means to commit suicide. It lets bloggers speak out.

18일 인권운동사랑방 등 인권단체들에 따르면 지난 16일 새벽 서울 마포경찰서는 촛불집회에 참가했다가 연행된 김모(26.여)씨를 입감하면서 브래지어를 위험물로 분류해 이를 벗도록 한 뒤 보관했다. 인권운동사랑방은 “여성연행자를 입감하면서 ‘자해위험’ 운운하며 브래지어를 수거한 것은 성적 수치심을 주는 행위”라며 “과잉 신체검사로 인한 문제를 시정하기 위해 개정한 ‘피의자 유치 및 호송규칙’ 내용을 거꾸로 돌리는 반인권적 행위”라고 비난했다. 이에 대해 경찰 관계자는 “촛불 국면 이후 최초로 연행자 4명이 체포적부심을 신청하면서 유치기간이 길어질 것으로 판단해 규정에 따라 위험물을 수거한 것일 뿐”이라며 “자해 위험 때문에 통상적으로 끈으로 된 것은 입감시 수거한다”고 설명했다. 광복절 집회에서 연행된 시위참가자들은 모두 17일 오후 6시께 귀가했지만 김씨 등 4명은 지난 16일 오전 체포적부심사를 신청해 법원에서 기각되면서 체포시한이 19일 0시25분까지 연장됐다. 위 내용과 관련하여 경찰서에 전화를 해 보았는데, 서울 경찰청에서 마포경찰서 지능팀으로 바꿔 주어서 통화해 보았는데, 경찰에서는 벗긴 적이 없다, 경찰서 앞에서 관련단체들이 기자회견을 했을 뿐 여성본인이 기자회견을 하지 않았다고 답변을 하더군요. 억지로 벗기지 않았다 해도 자해위험때문이라며 자해할 의도가 전혀 없는 여성의 브래지어를 벗기게 만들었다면 오히려 수치심을 자극하여 자해를 유도한 인권탄압행위라고 봅니다. 법가지고 장난치듯이 수치심유발 등 심리적인 자극으로 별 짓거리를 다 하는 것 같다는 생각이 드는군요.[…]

According to human rights organizations, such as the Sarangbang Group for Human Rights, the Mapo Police Station in the early 16th took a 26 year old woman who attended the candlelight vigil to the police station, forced her to take her brassiere off because it could be a dangerous product to lead her kill herself, and kept it. The Sarangbang Group for Human rights criticized, “Arresting a woman, talking about self-injury, and taking her brassiere off… it is sexual harassment. This is against human rights.” About this, the police said, “Since the candlelight vigil started, it was the first time that the four arrested people legally asked the propriety of their arrests at that night. We thought that the detention period would be longer than we expected. Therefore, according to the regulation, we took it away. Due to the possibility of self-injury, we commonly take things having strings away.” Arrested people who attended the candlelight vigils at that night went back home at 6 pm on the 17th. However, 4 people including the woman legally asked the propriety of their arrests and it was thrown out of court. Therefore, the duration of the detention was extended to 0:25 on the 19th. About this, I called the police station. They said that they didn’t force her to take it off. They insisted that the woman never had interviews and it was other organizations that had the press conference in front of the police station. I think that it is the pressure against human rights because they forced her to take it off even though she didn’t intend to hurt herself. They humiliated her. To me, it seems that they’re playing around with regulations.[…]

Netizens have a hard time to understand whether it was necessary.

지난 15일. 광복절 사수를 위해 촛불을 든 26세 김모양은 경찰의 마일리지 포획물이 되어 마포 경찰서로 연행됐습니다. 그리고 경찰은 그녀에게 ‘브래지어를 벗어서 이리 내놔!'라고 했다 합니다. 왜냐구요? 브래지어가 위.험.물. 이기 때문입니다. 자살할 위험이 있어서라고 합니다. 유치장에 수감되는 범죄인의 경우 자살 할 수 있을겁니다. 사람을 죽였거나, 사람을 억지로 범했거나, 사람을 다치게 했거나, 또 기타등등의 심각한 범죄를 저질렀을 때 여기서 일케 구치소를 지나 법정에 서고 교도소에 가는 것보다 차라리 죽는게 낫겠다..고 생각할 수도 있습니다. 그런데.. 촛불을 든 사람이.. 정말 그럴 수 있을까요?[…] 한때 가톨릭 교회는 ‘자살'을 ‘자신에 대한 살인'이라 해서 범죄라 한 적이 있습니다. 그러나 요즈음 가장 보수적이라고 할 수 있는 가톨릭 교회에서 마저 이에 대한 생각이 조금씩 변하고 있습니다.자살은 우울증이라는 심각한 질병으로 인한 병사라는 것이지요. 그렇다면 이 여성은 무엇일까요? 우울증으로 보였던걸까요? […]

On the 15th of August, a 26 year old woman who attended the candlelight vigil for the 815 Liberation Anniversary was taken to the Mapo Police Station and the police ordered her, ‘take your brassiere off and give us!’ Why? The reason was that the brassiere was regarded as a dangerous commodity and there is the possibility of committing suicide. There have been such stories in criminals’ cases in the prison. People could think that when they killed someone, harrased someone, injured someone, or commit serious crimes, they’d better die instead of standing in the court and being sent to the prison. But… a person who held a candle… could it be possible? […]Once, the Catholic Church thought that ‘suicide’ was ‘murder toward oneself.’ However, this conservative Catholic Church is even changing. Suicide comes from disease, depression. Then how about this woman? Did she look like having depression? […]

유치장에 있는 모든 여성이 브래지어를 벗어야 하는가? 위험물질 소지 위험이 있을 경우 그런 규정이 있다. 지금까지 유치장에 있던 여성들중 단 1명도 빠짐없이 브래지어를 벗겼는가? 아니다. 사안에 따라 다르다. 중범죄나 무기 위험이 있는 경우 탈의를 요구한다. 그럼 집회 나가는 것이 중범죄냐? 그렇게 물으면 대답할 수 없다. 본인 생각으로는 연행 자체가 불법이고, 경찰 입장으로서도 경미한 죄일텐데 말이 거부하는데 강요했다는것이 경찰 자체가 불법을 저지르고 있는것 아니냐? 강요하지 않았다. 기사에서는 수차례 거부했다고 나와있다. 왜곡되었을것이다. 내가 직접 참여하지 않아서 잘 모르겠다. 유치장의 여성이 끝까지 거부하면 강제로 벗게 할수는 없는가?

Should all women in prison take their brassieres off? There is a regulation if they have dangerous commodities. Then did all women in prison have to take off brassieres? No. it’s depending on the situation. If they committed serious crimes or have dangerous weapons, they are requested to take all clothes off. Then, is attending the candlelight vigil the serious crime? If they ask that, I don’t know what to answer. In my opinion, taking a suspect to a police station was itself illegal and in the perspective of the police what she did was not serious. The police said that they didn’t force. But in the newspaper, she said that she refused several times. I don’t know because I was not there. If the woman in prison refuses to the end, can the police force her to take the brassiere off?

Some netizens opened a campaign to send brassieres to the police station, showing what those policemen have done.

마포경찰서는 사과하십시요!

같은 여성으로써 기사를 접하고 손이 덜덜 떨립니다. 그 여성분이 강력범죄자였습니까? 아님 약을 했습니까? 왜 수갑을 채우고 브래지어를 벗게 했습니까? 뭐 본인이 벗었다구요? 경찰서 안에서 그 여성분은 얼마나 무서웠겠습니까? 경찰관들이 계속 벗어라고 하는데 일반 시민인 그 아가씨 누구 대변해주는 사람없고 얼마나 무서웠으면 벗었을까요? 기사를 읽는 내도록 경찰한테 실망하고 ..무섭습니다. 경범죄에 수갑에 브래지어를 벗게하다니..말이 안나오네요 이건 대한민국 여성분들한테 다 성적모독감을 주는겁니다. 저는 그럼 만약 제가 교통사고를 일으켜서 경찰서에 간다면 저도 벗게 되는겁니까? 도저히 있을수 없는 행동을 한 마포경찰서에서는 언론에 공개사과를 하기 바랍니다.[…]

브래지어로 목을 메요? 메봐요. 어디

The Mapo Police Station, you should apologize!

As the woman, my hands couldn’t help but to be shaken after reading the news. Was she the serious criminal? Or did she do some drug? Why did you lock her hands with handcuffs and take her brassiere off? You said that she took it off by herself. Haven’t you thought about how scared she was in the police station? No one was on her side and the police men kept saying she should take it off. She must have filled with the fear. While I was reading the news, I was so disappointed at the police and scared of them. With the light crime, they locked her with handcuffs and took her brassiere off… it’s absurd. This means that they give sexual humiliation to all women in this land. If I cause a car accident and have to be at the police station, will you force me too? The Mapo Police Station that committed the unforgivable action should apologize in public.[…]

Do you think it is possible to strangle people’s necks with the string of a brassiere? Then try whether it works or not!

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