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South Korea protester accused of defaming President Moon Jae-in

South Korea protester accused of defaming President Moon Jae-in
South Korean authorities are investigating allegations of defamation following protests against President Moon Jae-in. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

April 28 (UPI) -- South Korea police are investigating a defamation case against a conservative activist who held street protests that mocked President Moon Jae-in.

Police in Seoul's Dongdaemun district said Tuesday the case involves a suit against Kim Keun-tae, 29, a politician affiliated with the center-right People's Party and director of the Seoul National University chapter of a nationwide university student council, Yonhap reported Tuesday.

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Shin Seung-mok, the head of a left-wing group that is calling for the liquidation of the assets of Koreans who collaborated with Japanese authorities in the colonial period, is alleging Kim offended Moon in a manner that violated local law.

According to reports, Kim staged rallies on March 7 and 14 in Seoul's Hongdae and Gangnam Station districts, where he held a satirical show.

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The event, "Press Conference of the pro-China Festival," involved a performance in which actors dressed up as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Moon.

At one point, "Xi" dragged "Moon" by a rope tied to his neck, a move that has angered South Korean leftists.

South Korean police said Tuesday Shin's allegations are being investigated in order to determine whether a crime had taken place during the rally.

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Shin has accused other South Korean conservatives of defamation, including politicians of the main opposition United Future Party. Shin alleges politician Cho Kwan-shik defamed Moon and Moon's mentor, former President Roh Moo-hyun. Earlier in the month, Cho had reportedly uploaded to social media a manipulated image of Roh stepping on the back of a prostrating Moon.

The South Korean president's party won an overwhelming majority in parliamentary elections in mid-April, but difficult days may be ahead for Moon.

Local newspaper Segye Ilbo reported Tuesday Moon warned all focus needs to be on overcoming the economic crisis that has followed the global coronavirus pandemic.

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Consumer sentiment plunged in April, according to the Bank of Korea on Tuesday. The local economy shrank 1.4 percent in the first quarter.

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