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(2nd LD) Chinese guards assault S. Korean journalists ahead of Moon-Xi summit

All Headlines 19:37 December 14, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details)

BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) -- Chinese security guards beat and injured two South Korean photojournalists who were covering a business function attended by South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday hours before his summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The incident occurred at a convention center in Beijing where a trade fair was held involving some 200 South Korean firms and 500 prospective Chinese buyers. Moon is currently on a four-day state visit to China that began Wednesday.

A South Korean journalist lies on the ground after being beaten by a group of Chinese security guards under the leadership of the Chinese police at a South Korean trade fair attended by South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Beijing on Dec. 14, 2017. (Yonhap)

A group of 14 South Korean journalists was covering the event when the Chinese guards blocked them from following the president who was then visiting various booths of South Korean firms at the fair, according to pool reports.

The journalists protested the blockage and one of them, a photojournalist, was taken outside of the venue by some 15 Chinese security guards.

He took a severe beating while being completely surrounded by the guards despite strong protests from his colleagues and South Korean officials, including those from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

He was taken to a hospital after Moon's medical staff examined him and said he required intensive treatment, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

Seoul officials said another photojournalist was also injured in an earlier incident where he was pushed back by a different group of security guards at the same venue.

A ranking Cheong Wa Dae official said the government has filed a protest with the Chinese government and demanded a formal apology, pending a thorough review.

The official said an initial probe suggested the guards may have been hired by the South Korean organizers of the event.

Still, the guards were under the leadership of the Chinese police, the official noted, while speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The two South Korean journalists have expressed their willingness to press charges against their assailants, a Cheong Wa Dae official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.


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