Photo: MBC News journalists stand off against the police raid. Credit: MBC News.
On the morning of May 29, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency 서울 경찰청 raided the house and office of MBC News journalist Im Hyeon-ju 임현주, based on allegations that Im leaked personal information of Justice Minister Han Dong-hun 한동훈 법무부장관. According to the police, Im received briefing materials containing Han’s protected personal information in connection with the legislative hearing for Han’s appointment, and subsequently forwarded the materials to a journalist at a different outlet.
The raid reeks of pretext. The police seized Im’s smartphone and searched through Im’s residence, her car, and the entire MBC News office - an obviously excessive intimidation campaign in response to what is at most a minor violation of privacy laws that allegedly occurred in April 2022, more than a year ago. MBC News said Im was being targeted because she reported on President Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열’s hot mic moment when he said “Biden will be fucking humiliated if the pricks at Congress don’t pass this” moments after chatting with the US president in New York. (See previous coverage, “MBC News Faces Right-Wing Wrath.”)