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Prosecution vows maximum penalty against quarantine violators

Politics 15:36 August 25, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top prosecution office said Tuesday it has ordered prosecutors nationwide to seek the severest possible penalty for coronavirus quarantine violators amid growing fears of a new wave of the pandemic.

According to the Supreme Prosecutors Office (SPO), all prosecution offices across the country have been instructed to demand the maximum sentence allowed by law during court trials against anyone caught disrupting quarantine authorities' efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19.

This file photo shows the Supreme Prosecutors Office building in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)

In principle, prosecutors will seek an arrest warrant for those accused of refusing to cooperate with an epidemiological investigation "systematically, premeditatedly and maliciously"; assaulting or threatening quarantine and medical personnel; or intentionally disrupting quarantine efforts, the SPO said.

If authorities' no-assembly order is breached, active rally participants, as well as the rally organizer, will be referred for formal court trial, it said.

The prosecution has handled 338 cases of quarantine rule violations and arrested and indicted 22 people so far this year.

The Suwon District Prosecutors Office arrested and indicted four officials of a local religious group, including its leader, earlier this month for submitting a false list of members.

In the southwestern city of Gwangju, prosecutors arrested an individual who illegally left a self-isolation accommodation and didn't answer repeated calls from quarantine officials.

"The prosecution will apply a zero-tolerance principle to those who maliciously disrupt quarantine efforts and interfere with the legitimate duty of public officials by spreading false information," an SPO official said.

The SPO's latest order came as the nation has added nearly 3,200 new coronavirus cases over the past 12 days amid a steady rise in quarantine rule violations nationwide.


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