Army intelligence command accused of drawing concrete action plans for martial law

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-07-20 17:31 Updated : 2018-07-20 17:31
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[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- South Korea's powerful military intelligence command has drawn up action plans for the implementation of martial law, which are more concrete and serious than thought, to safeguard the conservative regime of ousted ex-president Park Geun-hye, according to the presidential office.

The Defense Security Command (DSC) in charge of internal security and the deterrence of subversion suggested that a martial law junta headed by the army chief should control parliament, press, the government and its spy agency, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said Friday.

The DSC proposed the swift and pre-emptive deployment of tanks, armored vehicles, soldiers and paratroopers at 494 key places and in the center of Seoul to quell any anti-government protests and arrest opponents, Kim said.

Such action plans were contained in a 67-page document attached to one already published, the spokesman said, adding it was drawn up to impose martial law if Park's impeachment was rejected in March last year.

A special team of military investigators has been formed to probe the DSC document calling for the mobilization of some 200 tanks, 550 armored vehicles, 4,800 armed troops and 1,400 paratroopers.

Plans described in the new document, disclosed by Kim, were an apparent copycat of a coup staged by former general-turned-president Chun Doo-hwan to seize power as DSC commander in 1979 after Park's father was assassinated.

"It's very serious that there is such a document," Defense Minister Song Young-moo said, urging investigators to find out whether the document was for an actual coup to protect Park.

President Moon Jae-in has asked military units to submit all documents and reports going between them in connection with the DSC document. He needs more evidence to see if preparations were actually made.

Park's impeachment followed a wave of anti-government protests that saw millions of citizens taking to the streets for months in an unprecedented demonstration of people power and paralyzed state affairs.

As a culprit behind a corruption scandal that revealed deep-rooted collusive ties between businessmen and politicians, Park received a 24-year jail sentence in April. Her crony, Choi Soon-sil, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for causing a state crisis by controlling government affairs arbitrarily for her personal interests.