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Teachers' union moves to seize lawmaker's assets for disclosing its members

All Headlines 11:14 July 12, 2010

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- A liberal teachers' union said Monday it will confiscate assets of a ruling party lawmaker who defied court orders and revealed the names and personal data of members of the union on the Internet.

The Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union said it obtained court permission last week to confiscate the assets of Rep. Cho Jun-hyuk. The confiscation process can move forward once the court papers are sent to financial institutions where Cho's assets and savings are held.

A local Seoul court in April banned Cho from publishing the names of the union members for reasons of privacy, but the lawmaker posted the list on his Web site. He later removed the list but was ordered by the court to pay the union 150 million won (US$125,500) in restitution for the five days he kept the names on the Internet.

The union, which has been at odds with the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration for opposing its education policies, was drawn into controversy when it attempted to stop the ruling party legislator from going public with the names of its members. The debate was fierce over whether the disclosure was protected by the right to know by students and parents, or a means to seek out and reprimand teachers with liberal tendencies.

The union had not acted on the court's permission but said it decided to go ahead with the confiscation after Cho refused to apologize and continued to take court action against the union through appeals.

"We are specifically looking at the amount we can seize from his bank accounts," a union official said. "It may be inappropriate to confiscate his real estate, but we will enforce the seizure of bank assets as soon as the court papers arrive at the banks."

The union has some 400,000 members nationwide.


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