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.
The first vandalism case by a man and a woman took place on December 16 and another case by a copycat vandal took place on the next day. The man-woman team was caught through a manhunt while the copycat turned himself into the police.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on December 27, the police are planning to set up more CCTV cameras near urban cultural heritage sites, including palaces, to prevent vandalism cases like the one that took place at the walls of Gyeongbokgung Palace. The police also said that the new CCTV network will help law enforcers track and catch criminals such as fugitives who escape from detention centers.
In 2018, a graffiti artist used paint to vandalize pieces of the Berlin Wall that were displayed in central Seoul. Jung Tae-yong, who was 28 at the time, was slapped with a fine of five million won ($3,862) for damaging a public structure.
Currently, there are 541,018 state-operated CCTV cameras operated across the country. However, the police find it hard to use the state-operated surveillance network to fight crime because many of the cameras are outdated. 45 percent of the CCTV cameras were installed before 2017 and 14 percent were installed before 2013.
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