:The former commissioner’s statements add to growing controversy over the KPNA’s recent reversal on its ban of the device
Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) Commissioner Cho Hyun-oh answers questions from National Assembly lawmakers about plan to introduce a long-range acoustic device (LRAD) during a National Assembly audit of the KPNA, Seoul, Oct. 7. (Photo by Kim Jin-su)
By Lim Ji-sun
A Democratic Party lawmaker has stated that former Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) Commissioner Kang Hee-rak refused to introduce a long-range acoustic device (LRAD) when then-Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency chief Cho Hyun-oh first proposed it. Kang cited the fact that it was “lethal to the human body” as his reason for refusing it. Led by current Commissioner Cho, the KPNA is now pursuing plans to introduce the LRAD, also called a “sound cannon,” to disperse protests and demonstrations.
During a National Assembly audit session held at the KNPA in the Migeun neighborhood of Seoul’s Seodaemun District on Thursday, DP Lawmaker Jang Se-hwan, a member of the National Assembly’s Public Administration and Security Committee, described Kang’s response to Cho’s proposal in May.
Jang said, “Given that the standard for sound regulation in the Assembly and Demonstration Act is 80 decibels and this device has a maximum output of 152 decibels, which could be fatal to the human body, we cannot adopt it for use.”
Jang said that he confirmed this quote directly through a telephone conversation with Kang.
“At the time, Cho asked, ‘What are we going to do if the protesters go to the Cheong Wa Dae?’ and Kang refused to allow the use of the device, saying, ‘In that kind of situation, the people of South Korea would understand if we used tear gas,’” Jang added.
In response to Jang’s remarks, Cho said that Kang “did not agree, but I never heard that he definitely opposed it.”