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Police on manhunt for male and female vandals who damaged walls of iconic palace

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 19, 2023, 17:04 Updated : December 19, 2023, 17:04
SEOUL -- Police are on a manhunt for two vandals, a man and a woman, who damaged the outer walls of Gyeongbokgung Palace in central Seoul using paint spray cans. Two cases of vandalism took place for two days in a row. The police said that they consider these cases as acts of serious crime.

Gyeongbokgung is an iconic palace in Seoul that was visited by some 3.4 million people in 2022. The area near the Blue House, the former presidential office, remains a high-security area with a score of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Platoons of policemen patrol the area regularly and any suspicious persons will be stopped and questioned by law authorities.

According to Seoul Jongno Police Station, male and female suspects sprayed slogans such as "Free Movies" and internet addresses of some websites onto the walls of the main palace in the early morning of December 16 using spray paint cans.

Another act of vandalism occurred at about 10:20 p.m. (1320 GMT) on December 17 near the first graffiti site and the man suspected of the vandal responsible for the second case turned himself a day later. The man in his 20s was questioned by police for six hours before he returned home. He did not answer any questions asked by the media.

The Jongno Police Station said on December 19 that they were able to identify the man and woman who vandalized the outer wall of the main palace on December 16. A search warrant was issued to track the suspects using closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage and taxi records. The police said that as soon as their identities were confirmed, they would immediately apply for an arrest warrant.

The police explained that the suspects vandalized the walls at nighttime and the quality of the CCTV footage was not good enough to identify and track down the suspects. To prevent copycat crimes, the police said that they will push to treat this case as a serious crime case with a minimum punishment of three years in jail.

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