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Police seek arrest warrants for truckers' union members

All Headlines 16:30 June 28, 2012

SEOUL/BUSAN, June 28 (Yonhap) -- Police said Thursday they have requested arrest warrants for four members of the truckers' union for alleged illegal acts during their ongoing strike.

About 3,000 unionized truck drivers across the country have been on strike since Monday, demanding the government increase fees and reduce fuel costs, according to the transportation ministry.

As the strike turned violent on Tuesday, police have vowed to sternly deal with any illegalities according to law.

Among the suspects are regional leaders of the union.

Park Won-ho, a 50 year-old union leader in the Busan region in the southern part of the country, has illegally staged a sit-in atop a steel tower at a Busan port since Monday and also interfered with police officers, according to the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency.

An arrest warrant was also sought for a regional union leader in South Gyeongsang Province, whose identity was withheld, for assaulting a non-unionist driver and destorying his car, the police said.

So far, a total of 46 cases of illegal acts have been reported. The police have identified 45 suspects allegedly responsible and launched an investigation, according to the National Police Agency.

Earlier in the day, police dispatched around 11,000 officers and 1,772 patrol cars to sit-in sites across the country to prevent possible crimes.

Meanwhile, union and transportation ministry representatives held their first round of negotiations with an aim to end the strike on Wednesday, but failed to reach an agreement. The two sides returned to negotiating table early Thursday, according to officials.

On Wednesday, a total of 23,475 containers were moved in or out of the port in Busan, the nation's largest, compared with a daily average of 44,000 before the walkout, officials said.

Busan handles more than 70 percent of South Korea's container traffic.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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