|▲ Apartment residents and ordinary citizens wrote letters of condolence for the deceased. (from http://www.aptn.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=75243).
A security guard in his 50s, who was assaulted and threatened by residents of an apartment building to the point of having his nose broken, commit suicide on May 10, 2020. He left a suicide note saying, "It's unfair." The incident has sparked controversy over the “gapjil” (abuse of position) of residents. What are the problems that led to this case?
The beginning of the conflict was the 'parking problem'. Since April 21, a resident had repeatedly assaulted, verbally abused, and threatened the security guard over double parking. CCTV footage taken on April 21 shows the resident continuously assaulting and threatening the security guard, who is pushing his car because of double parking. The resident put pressure on the security guard’s manager, demanding that he be fired.
Since then, the residents' threats never ceased. On the morning of April 23, the resident made insulting remarks to the security guard, and even threatened him, saying, "One of us has to die." On the 27th, he confirmed that there was no CCTV in the security guard bathroom and dragged the security guard to the bathroom to assault him. The resident also threatened to kill him by bringing 10 juniors and burying him without anyone knowing. The guard was constantly assaulted, threatened, and insulted whenever he went to work. Due to this trauma, he could not eat properly.
On May 3, the resident hit the security guard’s face several times at the security office and seriously injured him. The resident presented a medical certificate saying that he was injured by the security guard, but the medical certificate presented by the resident was from a previous traffic accident. The resident ridiculously demanded 20 million won from the security guard for the assault, concealing the date of the incident.
The security guard could not stand the assault and threats and attempted suicide on May 4 when he tried to jump off of a building before some residents talked him down. However, on May 10, early in the morning the guard tragically dies by committing suicide.
In the suicide note left by the guard, he mentioned his two daughters, the gratitude of the residents who helped him, and the details that revealed the injustice of the incident. The resident in question didn't say a word of apology towards the guard. When the story was reported to the world, more than 380,000 people signed the petition, titled "Please Release the Injustice of the Security Guard in Our Apartment." Currently, a small memorial altar has been set up in the security office in memory of the security guard, and it is said that not only the apartment’s residents but also ordinary citizens have continued to pay tribute.
In response to the security guard's incident, Lee Oh-pyo, head of the Seongbuk-gu Labor Rights Center, is pushing for an application for industrial accidents of the deceased. The prosecution has requested an arrest warrant for the resident on charges of injuries mentioned several times in the voice recording of the security guard.
Park Seol-hee, the managing director of Seohan Apartment in Guyeong-ri, Beomseo-eup, Ulju-gun, Ulsan Metropolitan City, said, "In fact, this unfair 'gapjil' is common. The job of security guards is simply to guard and secure the apartment, but there is some conflict with the residents because they are actually responsible for all the miscellaneous work in the apartment.” When asked if there was anything unfair or difficult like abuse that the security guard endured, "There are numerous conflicts between the residents who are not qualified to park in the handicapped parking area and the conflicts caused by placing personal items such as food waste on the stairs of the apartment building. Despite all this, the guards are not legally protected. I hope there will be a law that can legally protect security guards, such as the 'Law Against the Abuse of Power'".
As such, some say that legal alternatives such as security laws and workplace harassment laws should be prepared. Discussions on legal alternatives such as limiting the work of security guards to only security work and including security guards under workplace harassment prevention law are also continuing. It is the hope of many that appropriate measures will be taken for those who use 'gapjil' to justify abusing those they view as lower society and who act on their own. There should be no more cases of unfair practices against others.
By Shin Ji-won, cub reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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